Band of the Week: Aaron Civil War and the Brave Girls

Band of the Week: Aaron Civil War and the Brave Girls
Photo by Mara Robinson

MEET THE BAND: Aaron Civil War (vocals, guitar), Andy Stibora (guitar), Lisa Ellis Schafer (vocals), Eric Schulte (bass), Jason Weiner (bass)

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS: In 2015, local singer-songwriter Aaron Civil War was recording some songs he'd written on his phone and posting them on SoundCloud. "I didn't exactly know what to do with them," he says. "I sent them to people who I thought would like them." One of those people was local musician Clint Holley of Well Made Music. Holley invited him to his house to properly record the tunes and introduced him to recording engineer Dave Polster. Polster encouraged Aaron Civil War to form a band, so he would flesh out some of his songs. The band, dubbed Aaron Civil War and the Brave Girls in reference to a John Irving novel, rehearsed in October 2015 and recorded its debut album, Sugarless, in March 2016.

THE BAND'S THE THING: The music on Sugarless runs the gamut as the band effortlessly shifts from mid-tempo rock tunes to wispy ballads. "I played acoustic guitar on the album, and I played the songs the way I play them when I do a solo show," he says. "For the most part, I'm doing the same thing. [Guitarist] Jason Schafer [who plays on the album] brought some country twang but Andy has a '90s guitar rock feel. I was listening to the playing, and they go together perfectly. What you hear on the record is the range of the musicians."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "This Is a Dangerous Song" benefits from a bluesy guitar riff as Aaron Civil War softly sings, "I will never be cruel to you/that's not how I am." "Let's Get Tested" features a grunge-y guitar riff that sounds like something Dinosaur Jr's J. Mascis might unleash. The somber "Made It Worse" references a relationship on the brink. "In a disagreement with a wife or significant other, you get to a point where nothing is getting better," says Aaron Civil War when asked about the song. "The conversation goes downhill fast. That's what it's about." Aaron Civil War and Lisa Ellis Schafer harmonize well together on the ballad, "This Ain't Nashville," a tune about being a musician in Cleveland. "It has these classic country themes in it and it pokes fun at itself," Aaron Civil War says of the song. "Lisa is amazing. She's like the secret sauce in the band." The band plans to begin recording another album this fall.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Aaron Civil War and the Brave Girls perform with Herzog and Farther Shore at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Happy Dog.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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