If an evening of sibling reverie is something that might interest you, may I suggest you head over to Slates in Hallowell on June 26 for the final show of the season: The Oshima Brothers. Sean and Jamie Oshima have entertained audiences for more than five years with their stellar musicianship, close vocal harmonies and smart songwriting. I reached the brothers at their Whitefield home and told them how much I appreciated their self-titled, 11-song debut album. I asked if they could begin our conversation by talking about how this whole thing came to be.

Jamie: It started because Sean had about 50 songs written and we wanted to make him an album. It was always a dream to make a recording of a band-like collaboration with just the two of us. He would sing his songs, and I would play all the instruments and create a band with that multi-track recording. In the end, after three months of work, we decided that it was an album of both of our ownership, because I spent so much time on the music side of it, and Sean spent so much time writing the songs.

Sean: So, we’ve been playing music for a long time together in various band configurations, but we’ve fallen into just the Oshima Brothers duo out of ease and our love of making this music together. So this CD came out of that, and also out of just a want to have recorded music — to have our fans and friends be able to listen and share it. Jamie added, and adds, a huge side of the band, which is his musicianship and also his recording skills. I write most of the songs that we perform, so it kind of works out well. We balance each other out.

Q: You guys are in Whitefield, correct?

Sean: Yeah, that’s right.

Q: Well, a former student of mine, Sarah Crosby lives in Whitefield as well, and is also a singer/songwriter, so all of the sudden Whitefield is on Maine’s musical map. Now you two will be closing out Slates’ Monday Night Concert Series on June 26. Didn’t you guys kick off the season as well?

Sean: Yeah, we started the season at the new location — that’s pretty appropriate and really awesome. When we first came out with the album, our CD-release show was at Slates and it was just so much fun. So, in the spring Katie (Daggett) asked us back to close out the season, because they take a break in the summer. That first show was in late September, because the album came out on the 23rd of that month.

Q: When Jamie told me at the beginning of the interview that you had 50 songs, one would imagine that there’s a good chance another album will be in the works soon?

Sean: Yeah, I think there is an album in the works. Well, definitely there are albums to come down the road and we are writing for those, but not really talking about a new album yet. We’re mostly trying to promote ourselves and play shows in and around Maine and New England. We’ve been touring with this CD since it came out — not a ton, but we have been playing shows around. We’ve played all the way down to North Carolina and it’s been greeted well, I think. So, we’re just excited to have this, but also excited for what we want to do next.

Q: Is what’s heard on the CD fairly representational of what you are like live?

Jamie: Yeah, it’s close. I’d say we make the album without that in mind, but have come to play all the songs with approximations of guitar, bass, drums and piano. I play with an octave pedal on my guitar, so we have some fairly epic bass to back us up, and I have a board that I’ve put a guitar pick-up in and I stomp on it and do some sort of foot percussion thing that definitely adds a lot. We play two guitars — and sometimes bring a banjo — and I think the overall sound is very close to the album. I think in the future we could make an album that really fits our live sound more closely, but this one was out first attempt making an album.

Sean: It’s almost like a dream of what we could sound like, so it’s a little bit exaggerated, as a studio album can be. Obviously we’re just a little more pared down, but especially with Jamie’s foot percussion and guitar sounds, it becomes a really full show for two people, so I think folks are surprised sometimes to see two of us and then hear the sound we make.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this?

Sean: I think we’re pretty young as a band — and actually as people: Jamie is 19 and I’m 23 — and I think we’re just excited to grow and share our roots and our love of music with more people than know us now. We want to share and grow and to spread from Maine across the musical world. We hope people come see us in concert, because I feel like that’s when you really get to see our love of playing music, our love for the songs that we write and each other, and we get to share that experience with our audiences, which is why we do it — and it’s so much fun.

Lucky Clark has spent more than 48 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.