The Cash Brothers at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, June 21). $10. 416-598-4753. Rating: NNNNN
you could say andrew cash is go-ing through a mid-life crisis. He's got to choose between musical stardom or hard-nosed news reporting, and he isn't sure which to stick to.
"It's tough. I miss the high from putting words together. I don't foresee stopping the journalism, but right now I have a hard time doing both."
Three years ago, after gigging in T.O. for well over a decade, Cash started working the news beat at the very paper you're reading.
But then he and his sometime gigging partner, brother Peter, lucked out into some critical acclaim in the UK after their song Nebraska found its way onto Uncut Magazine's second New Sounds Of The Old West CD compilation.
The Universal-owned Rounder label soon came calling and reissued their 1999 debut on the Zoë imprint (Four Chord in Canada) as How Was Tomorrow, including Nebraska, with bonus tracks. The brothers are now promoting the disc by gigging all over North America.
The album has a fun post-punk sound, a rock feel, hard country riffs and working-man poetics.
But don't get Cash started on his alt- country sound. It's something he played for years, but back then fewer people listened.
"The only difference between then and now is that there's a bigger audience," he says from a truck stop in the sleepy town of Pembina, North Dakota. "What we do is make music that's too mainstream for the underground and too underground for the mainstream."
Cash, three bandmates and Peter, who adds a twangy acoustic element to the musical mix, are en route to Madison, Wisconsin. Earlier in the day, they were stopped at the border south of Winnipeg and waited hours for customs agents to search their gear.
"Ya know -- spending millions and millions of dollars looking for small bits of marijuana," he says in a sluggish tone. "And we're in a van packed to the gills with stuff."
The fraternal partnership began in 1998, when they ditched their musical side projects and launched the Cash Brothers. Both were in bands in the 80s and 90s -- Andrew in L'Etranger and Ursula, Peter in the Skydiggers -- so they tap their individual experiences to bring their own angle to the music.
"It doesn't work all the time, but we have complementary characters and keep out of each other's hair."
Now putting some serious time into the Cash Brothers, they've opted out of the indie route to align themselves with a major label. Andrew hopes the partnership with Universal Music will get them proper attention from the industry and critics.
He's excited about their return to T.O. tonight (Thursday, June 21) at the Horseshoe.
"Right now I'm busy with the Cash Brothers, but in July I probably won't be," he says, as his bandmates try to tug him away for a bite to eat.
"That's when I'll probably call my editors at NOW and tell them I'm home for a month."