It’s been a busy summer for music at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, and the good times will continue right into the Fall season starting with a visit from the Maine band, Oshima Brothers.

The duo is playing the outdoor space in a concert curated by Common Fence Music, on Friday, September 24th at 7PM. Click here for tickets.

Raised in rural Maine, the band features a harmony-rich blend of contemporary folk and acoustic pop. Earlier this week, I interviewed Sean Oshima, half of the duo along with his brother Jamie. I ask about how his native state of Maine influences his songwriting.  

“My writing is always influenced by my environment,” he explained. “Be it the landscape of my mind and imagination, heart, or physical location. So, I’d say that Maine is switched into our songs and lives.”

“I’m happy to call this state my home,” continued Oshima, “the cold and salty ocean, the evergreens on the rocky mountains, and the people I love. Growing up in rural Maine, life was slow in the woods. We had time and space to really explore making music together.”

Like many performing artists, the pair faced numerous challenges during the pandemic.

“These past months totally crushed the music industry, but not just the big names and places. Small venues and indie artists were hit hard.  We lost a gigantic tour and really all income – but we couldn’t let it stop us,” said Oshima.

“We found silver linings,” he explained. “We played shows online and got creative, but mostly we started working on what’s to come – more music and videos and art! This year Jamie and I got a place together in Portland where we’ve been working in a studio (that’s not just a bedroom). I feel so fortunate to have had a really okay year full of things that make life great. Like music, food, friendship, and spending time with my bro.”

As many music critics have noted, “family bands” are a unique entity. There’s something about growing up singing and playing together that builds musical connections among family members. Oshima shared a little more about the process of creating music with his brother Jamie.

“My brother and I can’t help but make music. We’re self-taught and do everything ourselves and our DIY approach allows us to have complete creative control, as an artist, that’s the dream! We love to make people happy, encourage them to relax, and talk about real shit,” said Oshima.

“But perhaps what’s unique are these two things,” he continued. “First, the two of us offer vocals, keyboard, guitars, bass, drums, synths, and looping. When we play a show I don’t think it sounds like just two guys. Second, the recordings and concerts are only half the art we make. The other half is our video work, which is all self-directed and edited. I think you can tell how much we love making these short movies if you watch one of our music videos.”

For more on the show, check the Common Fence Music website here.

Meanwhile, check out some Oshima Brothers videos below:

The Latest From WUN

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.