Austin-based Greyhounds knew they clicked right away

Patrick Dunn
Special to The Detroit News

Anthony Farrell and Andrew Trube have been playing and listening to classic R&B music since childhood, and the Austin-based duo found a perfect creative partnership in each other almost as soon as they became adults.

Keyboardist Farrell and guitarist Trube, who play the Majestic Café on Friday, record and perform under the name Greyhounds. The duo met in 1999, while both were living in California. Trube, then 21, had placed an ad in the L.A. Weekly seeking a pianist for his band. Farrell, then 19, was the first to respond.

“I called him and I played some stuff for him on the phone and he was like, ‘Yeah, come down. Let’s hang out,’ ” Farrell recalls. “We just started playing together and the chemistry was just instantaneous.”

The California-born Farrell had grown up with blues-loving parents. He became fascinated with his grandmother’s piano at age 4. His parents got him a piano teacher and he was playing Beach Boys covers on Venice Beach’s famous promenade by age 8.

Trube, who grew up in east Texas, first picked up a guitar at age 11, inspired by seeing guitar legend B.B. King perform in New Orleans. Long before he could drive, he was catching rides with friends who were in bands, learning the ins and outs of stage life.

“They kind of showed me the ropes — when to play, when not to play, how to behave onstage” Trube says.

When the Trbe and Farrell met, they bonded over a shared love of old-school R&B — but their specific interests beneath that broad umbrella complemented each other in surprising ways. Farrell says Trube drew him back to his parents’ interest in blues, which he’d “rebelliously” neglected as an adult, while Farrell turned Trube on to some classic ’60s R&B artists like the Isley Brothers.

That diverse palette of interests has led Greyhounds to be a remarkably versatile band, delivering a dirty guitar blues just as well as a low-key soul groove. Trube says his and Farrell’s writing process is very collaborative, informed equally by their differing musical interests — although those influences are almost always “stuff that was made before we were born.”

“Everything I don’t think of, he thinks of,” Trube says. “It’s always been like that.”

Although Trube and Farrell consider Greyhounds to be as old as their friendship, they’ve taken a variety of other gigs along the way. They’ve written songs for blues stars Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, and worked as backup musicians in other bands. But Greyhounds got an exciting new push in 2013, when Trube and Farrell signed with Memphis’ Ardent Records. A former subsidiary of the legendary soul label Stax Records, Ardent will release Greyhounds’ new record “Change of Pace” in April.

Ardent released the Greyhounds’ first vinyl records for their 2014 album “Accumulator.” Farrell said the record lathe Ardent uses, acquired from Stax after the label closed, is the same one used for Al Green and Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

“To have that little bit of connection from the past to the present is humbling,” he says.

Patrick Dunn is an Ann Arbor-based freelance writer.


with Zander Michigan and Nick Ciolino

8 p.m. Fri.

Majestic Café

4140 Woodward, Detroit

Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door

(313) 833-9700