Dean Brody – “Brothers”

Jim Malec | December 3rd, 2008

Dean Brody Songwriter: Dean Brody.

Back in January, I briefly profiled Canadian artist Dean Brody in The 9513’s “New Faces” feature, and in that profile, I urged that his label, Broken Bow, lead with the song “That’s What Brothers Are For,” calling it a “fantastic and deeply poignant song.” Now, 12 months later, BBR has taken my advice. “Brothers” (boasting a newly truncated title), is beginning to make a splash at radio, charting at #50 on R&R and #47 on MediaBase this week.

That early success is not surprising when considering the song on its artistic merit. But it is surprising when considering the fact that “Brothers” veers widely from the standard radio formula in one very significant way—for a song that so pointedly references the times in which we live, it isn’t particularly uplifting, nor does it resolve into a sound byte-worthy declaration of hopefulness.

The story of a younger brother who watches his hero go off to battle, and who must then watch him return wounded, “Brothers” is a somber song that makes no attempt to soften the effects of war and the pain it causes on all of those involved, including the families left behind.

When the narrator’s brother comes home, he’s in a wheel chair, and we don’t know the extent of his injuries. What we do know is that in this song there will be no heavy-handed miracle, no motivational speech proclaiming that this battered Vet isn’t going to let his circumstances hold him down. There is no empowering promise that one day, by the grace of God, he’ll walk again. Indeed, there is no consolation at all for the wounds he’s suffered, only the promise that he won’t have to wheel himself home, because that’s what brothers are for.

In that sense, the hope that the song inspires is driven by tragedy and revealed not by some contrived epiphany but rather through the enduring truth that penetrates the heart of the lyric–it is not about war or the cost of war, but about the indelible bond between brothers. And while it does present being a soldier with a certain air of nobility, it implies that a soldier’s nobility is born not through his service to country, god, or ideology, but to family.

“Brothers” is an important song that deals with an issue too often overlooked in contemporary music—sibling relationships—and which does so in the context of our modern struggles. It reminds us that there is more to war than broad concepts of freedom or the tragedy of romantic love lost, and while some songs, such as Underwood’s “Just A Dream,” may no doubt feel more epic, “Brothers” is as real and as honest as any.

Thumbs Up

Listen: Dean Brody – “Brothers”

2 Pings

  1. [...] Dean Brody - "Brothers" Reviews Unlike many formulaic tear jerkers that country music listeners are forced to endure, this one simply manages to pull the tears softly without feeling overtly contrived. - Country Universe The song does feature a few nice fiddle riffs in the end to remind people we're listening to a country song but from the militaristic drumming to the carbon-copy of Dierks Bentley's vocal, this song has a lot to overcome to be successful at radio - Roughstock “Brothers” is an important song that deals with an issue too often overlooked in contemporary music—sibling relationships—and which does so in the context of our modern struggles. - The 9513 [...]
  2. [...] (Read Jim Malec’s review of Brody’s first single, “Brothers.”) [...]
  1. Drew
    December 3, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Just a great song, found it awhile back and am happy to see its impacting radio finally.

  2. Peter
    December 3, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Solid piece, Jim – Dean’s the real deal and a great writer to boot; he stopped into our station a few months back and impressed us with some of his other songs too…

  3. mikeky
    December 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    i will not listen to this song. i hate the picture that much.

  4. Mike Parker
    December 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Just okay for me. Like the idea, but a lot of it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard brothers say to each other (without being extremely drunk) For instance- wrote him every night*, missed our pillow fights** seemed *really excessive and **decidedly girly to me. Maybe I just don’t relate.

  5. Jim Malec
    December 3, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Mike–I do agree with you about some of those nitpicky lyrical points, but I don’t feel like they really undermine the core of the song. I mean, the line about the DiMaggio rookie card is also a little off (they are very rare and expensive).

  6. Mike Parker
    December 3, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I let the card slide because at least is seemed like something brothers would talk about. But yes, one of them knowing and caring about Joe DiMaggio, much less owning his rookie card, is a bit far-fetched.

    I’ll give you that the core of the song is solid. And I really appreciated that the drama at the end didn’t push an agenda. I just think that with a bit more work it could have been a truly great song.

  7. Rick
    December 3, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    The Broken Bow website has a video introduction to Dean and they play snippets of some really nice songs throughout the video. I like his voice and his style and hope he does make it on Top 40 country radio being as “country” as he is. Will all those soccer moms and teenybopper girl listeners really want to hear a song that doesn’t end like a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie with feel good sappy sentimentality? I sure hope so!

    PS – When I saw Corb Lund perform recently I asked him if he knew or had ever heard of Dean and his answer was “no”. Dean’s a Canadian from just north of the Montana border in Southern Alberta while Corb’s from up in Edmonton so I wasn’t too surprised. But this does make both of them “hosers” eh?

  8. Larry Kerflapowitz
    December 4, 2008 at 12:05 am


    are you the talent buyer for Gruene Hall?

    I was once told that the person in question would instantly toss the cd of a cowboy hat wearing artist sending a cd to the Hall into the trash, without even a listen, strictly because of hat selection.

    You do book for Gruene, don’t you???

    I knew it!!

    OR, you’re from Kentucky, you’re a male, and you’re name is Mike, and I was way off….

    but the profile fit.

  9. idlewildsouth
    December 4, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Having had my brother, as well as best friend, serve 15 months in Iraq, I most certainly appreciate the central theme of this song. But for my taste, there arent really any standout lines that really knock me out. I think this has potentiol to be alot more emotional.

    side note…in relation to songs about brothers and war. I beleive it was Harlan Howard that said “writers are such sluts”, in reference to exaggerating a situation for more emotional impact. Long story short, dont write a song about your brother going to war and dying, while hes at war. He wont appreciate it very much.

  10. Leeann Ward
    December 4, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Crap, this song gets to me!

  11. mikeky
    December 4, 2008 at 9:30 am

    you were off, larry. but the gruene hall guy had a point. and you get no points for having no sense of humor. :)

  12. mikeky
    December 4, 2008 at 9:32 am

    wait. i’ll bet you found one of your cds in the trash at greune hall. i’m sorry. :( although i didn’t do it. i don’t know your taste in hats or chaps.

  13. TAYERS
    December 4, 2008 at 11:03 am

    hat or no hat, it’s the delivery that makes this song. you can believe every word in this song because brody sings it like he means it.

  14. Brady Vercher
    December 5, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Eh, this doesn’t really do much for me. Besides the cheesy lines, it could have been sung by anybody. I think the bond between brothers often times goes unspoken, but this song introduces an extreme situation in order to drag it all out there and create the illusion of poignancy. Bruce Robison’s “My Brother and Me” doesn’t say much about the bond between the brothers, but you can’t help but sense it.

  15. Steve
    January 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I am a 17 year, two war Army veteran. I heard this song for the first time the other day on the radio and cried like a little baby. The lyrics and tone behind this song can only really be appreciated by a brother and a Soldier. The bond between brothers is the strongest bond there is. Well done Dean, well done.

  16. Tiffane
    January 16, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    im am 14 yrs old and i am a army bratt and i can totaly understand what Dean was expressing. i have been through it all, it went from being happy when my dad was home to saying goodbye for 2 years then reuniting again. And its easy how some people think that freedom comes freely well it doesnt. have you ever stopped and actualy thought about the on-going war in iraq and how many soldiers have been remembered as M.I.A or P.O.W? well i have and it will stop you dead in your tracks when you think about it.

  17. GI JOE
    January 28, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    my best friend and I our both soldiers he’s american, i’m canadian and we both agree this song relates to the relationship we have with our brothers. They miss us when we’re deployed and when I came back from Afghanistan my brother was at the airport waiting for me with tears in his eyes. Awesome song Dean

  18. GI JOE
    January 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    by the way excuse my spelling I mean “are” not “our”

  19. Pat Chalcraft
    February 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I think “Brothers” is a great song and Dean Brody
    has a REAL COUNTRY voice. You don’t know Country until you have lived in the Mountains of Montana and Canada. I was raised 7 miles from the boarder and we had country dances where I grew up we never realized there was a border, just friends and neighbors. Good luck. Like to hear some more songs.

  20. Tiffany
    February 28, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    In response to Rick and Mike Parker: I think that being so picky about little parts of the song makes you miss the big picture. Two of my best friends are brothers, both in the US Army, and while the oldest brother spent 15 monthes in Iraq they did write to each other and talk about things like fishing and what they did when they were growing up. Take into consideration when you make these broad generalizations that what you think sounds “girly” does not seem that way to everyone. Dean Brody wrote a song about two brothers who, like my friends, love each other unconditionally..plain and simple.

  21. Bethany
    March 10, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    god I love this song. My brother is in the airforce and deploys soon and it’s wrough to say goodbye. I personaly think this is one of the best country songs I have herd, and I am proud to be the sister of a soilder. Thank you for this song.

  22. woody
    March 19, 2009 at 9:20 am

    This song realy hits you hard. i am going into the marine’s and my sister wont even llisten to this song because she will cry.

  23. Airforce sister Darcy
    March 31, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I have just heard this song recently here in WA state. I love country music and the gentle message it sends at times. I have a brother who has been in the Airforce about 15 years and has served all around the world including Iraq on several occasions. He has always come home safe physically, but won’t talk about the emotional pain. He and my other brother are this close, like the song and it brings tears to my eyes when I know he is overseas protecting my freedom. God Bless the American Soldier! I love ya Rick. Great song!

  24. kalley
    May 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm


  25. Creek
    May 20, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I wasnt sold on this song but the album is actually pretty good, Cattlemans Gun is cool.

  26. Laurie
    June 13, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I love this song. The first time i heard it i was in my car and had to pull over because i was crying so hard. It makes me cry everytime. My father is retired military and my husband is also in the military so it hits me hard. Keep up the good work.

  27. Cynthia
    January 11, 2010 at 1:28 am

    The people who have rude things to say about this song do not have any taste. Maybe if you took the time to understand what the lyrics are about you would feel diffrent. The title “Brothers” could mean anyone not just ur real brother: like best-friends, someone you have served with in the Military like me, Police Officer, Firefighter, ect…. So think before you judge any lyrics!!!!!!

  28. Nicole
    October 20, 2010 at 9:44 am

    i love this song but every time i hear it i think about my friend that went war


Juli Thanki on WAMU's Bluegrass Country

Tagged In This Article


Current Discussion

  • Jack Hanford: For those who are interested, there is a new 90-minute documentary video about Tompall & the Glaser Brothers on DVD …
  • joe morris: how come nobody mentions his fan club which started 1950 and was called the " the penny pushers " which …
  • jane: I'm reading this article in 2013 and I've yet to hear anything from the album played on the radio.....
  • Catwandy: I guess Matt C. is eating his well-deserved crow 'bout now. Critics....gotta love 'em , bless their little hearts.
  • Ed McClendon: Saw the brothers in Greeley CO on the occasion of Tompall's 50th birthday. The show wasn't well promoted and there …
  • Roby Fox: I'm sure no one else will know, or even care about this little tidbit of trivia. "Keep Your Change" was …
  • kate wonders: Roni Stoneman is still on Hee Haw every Sunday night on RFD channel.
  • Marsha Blades: Tommy, You were so kind to me during a tough time in my life and I don't think I ever …
  • Leona Jones: I seen Chris at the Grand Ole Opry last week.. First time I have heard of him.. He rocked the …
  • Sonicjar Music: Agree with Lucas, But one thing is certain, for a song to come to existence, so many things have to …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • Blind Boys of Alabama - Take the High Road
  • Del McCoury Band & Preservation Hall Jazz Band - American Legacies
  • Aaron Lewis - Town Line
  • Josh Kelly - Georgia Clay
  • The Gibson Brothers - Help My Brother
  • jesse-brewster_wrecking-ball
  • Lucinda Williams - Blessed
  • Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers - Hymns from the Hills