Elton John raves about them. Todd Rundgren raves, writes, and records with them. The list of musical luminaries who sing their praises seems to grow by the day.
The Lemon Twigs, fronted by Hicksville’s own Brian and Michael D’Addario, are preparing for their long-awaited return to Long Island at The Space at Westbury on October 13th.Their journey has been a long and winding one since the time of their humble live debut at the Hicksville Street Fair in 2014. The Lemon Twigs have become one of the torchbearers of writing, recording, and performing song-based pop/rock music in the tradition of their iconic influences (think Beatles, Beach Boys, The Byrds, Big Star) with a quirky, refreshing originality, and have gained a devoted international following in the process.
Having last crossed paths with the D’Addario brothers in 2019, a recent phone call with Brian and Michael offered the opportunity to catch up. I wondered what was behind the wait to do a homecoming gig until now. According to Brian, ”Most of our fan base, when we started out, was in Brooklyn. Those were our first shows where anybody really came, it wasn’t just [those who were] invited. So it always seemed a little bit scary to play on Long Island because we thought most of our fan base in this area was from the city.”
The band’s fourth album, Everything Harmony, was released in May and has since charted internationally, garnering fans exponentially and earning wide critical acclaim. The journey wasn’t easy, as Michael explained. ”When the album started, we moved out of our parents’ house to the city, and we got space in Manhattan right at the height of Covid; it was getting a lot cheaper. We were in a space in midtown called the Music Building and it was so raucous and loud [with] all of the sirens and metal bands that were practicing. [We were working on] a very delicate-sounding album, and we were hitting our heads against the wall trying to figure out how to do this record. Brian’s trying to do good guitar takes and there’s sirens ruining takes. We finally reached a point where we said we had to take the album somewhere else. We took it to a studio in San Francisco that was a pretty decent rate and some really legendary albums and recordings were made there; they did Spirit in the Sky and American Beauty.”
Brian discussed his journey as a songwriter during the past few years. “I was really able to work with my strengths on this album. I’ve always found it easier to write a ballad than a faster song. (With) “Ghosts Run Free,” it came about very spontaneously and I was very influenced by songs that Michael was writing at the time like “In My Head,” which was written before “Ghosts Run Free.” It was cool, because I knew that I could write ballads well for years, but I was never able to put a lot on a record, and then, I didn’t know that I could write a fun, sort of flippant thing! It’s nice to know that you’re not just bound by whatever your influences are. You can choose to write any kind of song you want to write.”
The upcoming Long Island show is sure to be a special event. Fans and critics alike say that the band has never sounded better onstage. To this regard, longtime followers of The Lemon Twigs will welcome the return of Danny Ayala to the touring band lineup. A Hicksville native and close friend of the brothers, Danny’s formidable abilities as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist are a perfect addition to the mix. His voice blends seamlessly with the other two, creating pitch-perfect three-part harmonies that can send chills up the spine.
Michael agreed, stating, “We felt like we had a lot of different members who were so talented in different areas but we never had anybody who was able to do a third harmony quite so well as Danny had when we first started out.” Signing off, Brian added, “We’re really happy about this band, too. We’re really excited to get back on the road and play!”
For the complete conversation, visit Island Zone Update online.