THE LONG VERSION:
With the last 2 decades seeing major changes in the music we listen to and how we listen to it, Kovac Brothers emerges with a courageous style of Rock, with a Country-Jazz Spice!! Anchored by brothers Frank and Jim Kovac, their unique and separate successes in the music industry have combined to produce meaningful songs with both distinctive and classic approaches to instrumentation.
Describing Kovac Brothers music includes a timeless writing style with a tasteful contemporary approach. The influences of Steely Dan and The Allman Brothers can be heard in their relentless fusion of music. The vocal style is reminiscent of classic Tom Petty, with a contemporary dash similar to Rob Thomas. There is an edge of rock from the the vein of the Foo Fighters with a touch of soul suggesting Stevie Wonder. Undoubtedly these are not the only ingredients that influence the sound that radiates from the collective of Kovac Brothers, but it provides the listener with a safe preparation for what they are about to hear. In addition, the mix of timeless lyrical content and flip anecdotes, reminiscent of the best in American roots music to keep the listener grounded during the musical journey.
The collective nature of Kovac Brothers introduces the rebirth of the band. The opportunity for Frank and Jim to work together professionally came up in the summer of 2005 the result was well worth the wait.
“The response has been overwhelming”, says drummer Jim Kovac. “People always asked, ‘when are you guys going to play together’, we just didn’t realize how many people wanted to hear it.” The last time Frank and Jim performed on a major stage together was at the 1997 HORDE Tour in Philadelphia with Colonel Bruce Hampton (Aquarium Rescue Unit) and members of Leftover Salmon. At the time, Frank Kovac was touring relentlessly with New Brown Hat and Jim Kovac was a free-lance drummer, a hired gun, most notably with industrial band Simulcast, hip-hop group the Nervous System and pop singer Amie Miriello (now Dirtie Blonde and Sugarland). Jim Kovac adds, “We’re not just looking to create interesting music but also to promote independent music as a more sincere representation of people’s ideas.”
Drawing on their unique experiences the brothers instinctively realized how to work towards the ultimate goal of making music that had mass appeal but was interesting enough to hold the attention of the most discriminating listener.
Bringing in additional members was made easy by the tremendous exposure to some fantastic musicians both had an opportunity to listen to and collaborate with over the past years.
Originally performing in January of 2006 as Rhythm Clutch then KoVaX, and finally KOVAC BROTHERS, they recruited some highly regarded area musicians to get started. Dave Morrison on bass, Geordie Van Nostrand on guitar, provided a rock edge and sax players Evan Olmstead and Jeff Wasserman rounded out the jazz side.
Recruiting Geordie Van Nostrand, from the Viberaiders as an additional guitarist provided an immediate edge to the sound. Described by Media Storms managing partner as “an amazing guitarist that creates a great duo on stage”(with Kovac) Van Nostrand pushed the envelope of each songs’ guitar part while carefully balancing part writing and improvisation Kovac. Solidifying the rhythm section was bassist David Morrison. By far the hardest working bass player in the area, Morrison also came from the Viberaiders but currently played with Lima Charlie and the Ian Murray Band. Possessing a tremendous musical knowledge gave Morrison the ability to contribute both a “perfect fit” in his bass part while breathing life into the rhythmic heart of the band. A highly committed musical schedule and other interests sadly saw Morrison and Van Nostrand leave by 2008. The short lived instability caused a delay to a much-anticipated album.
What did remain stable was sax players Jeff Wasserman (baritone) and Evan Olmstead (alto). Wasserman’s diverse experience includes playing bass, guitar, and keytar in the Boston based punk fusion group PD Saints and bass in Cobra Kai Dojo. More recently Wasserman has supplemented his baritone playing with a residency in the S. B. V. F.D. Band. Additionally, Wasserman plays bass guitar with The Terryl Lee Band and continues to play with Frank Kovac in the Celtic group The Sunday Morning Boys.
Evan Olmstead’s playing began in a household rich in jazz where his father, Neil Olmstead, professor at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, hosted frequent jam sessions with local Boston musicians. Evan studied jazz alto saxophone throughout school, playing lead alto in the high school big band and performing in senior districts. Evan also performed in the Connecticut College jazz ensemble and became a preferred alto player in the Northern Connecticut area both for performance and his uncanny talent for composing catching horn lines for almost any genre of music.
The unique tone of the Alto and Baritone saxophones separates Kovac Brothers from other bands. Not a full horn funk ensemble or a rock band with a sax solo, the fine balance the sax plays in enhancing the songs is intriguing.
Long time friend and bandmate from the New Brown Hat era, Fell Herdeg took up bass duties adding superb pocket and fine vocal harmony. Having spent many hours touring with Frank Kovac in New Brown Hat the transition was seamless and an exciting reunion. Additionally, Matt Hurta takes up the bass responsibilities when Fell cannot. He had shared the stage with Jim Kovac making another easy transition in the rhythm section. Hurta also possesses a brilliant voice and ear for harmony. Recently, Matt Hurta has been a major contributor to the band and performing with Frank and Patrick as a trio, featuring their vocal harmony and acoustic versions of Kovac Brothers repertoire.
Replacing the second guitar was keyboardist and songwriter Patrick Sweeney. Sweeney expanded the harmonic texture of the band while also lending some great vocal harmony as well. Lending piano parts reminiscent of Joe Jackson and organ with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers inspired licks, Sweeney is a serious musician who instills a fun and free-spirited sound by not taking himself too seriously.
"The songs seemed to come alive with this instrumentation” stated a pleased Frank Kovac. Without hesitation, some focused listening moved Frank and Jim to produce the record aptly named “Seeing is Believing”.
Narrowing down songs was the next step and teaming up with another old friend, renowned producer Brad Young, started the project moving at an industrious pace. The group and its’ sound is magnetic. Sweeney has simply stated that every song is unique but they are all saying “welcome, come on in and listen”.
In 2019, the instrumentation changed slightly with the addition of master Trumpeter Michael Strange. In addition to his performance chops his encyclopedic knowledge of music and creative approach kept Kovac Brothers moving in a fresh and fun direction.
Not soon after, the band has been occasionally joined by Jason Polise on Tenor Sax. His professional career has been highlighted with supporting such artists as Eric Clapton and his presence raises the bar for everyone in the band.