Brothers Willy and Dan Lindner have been playing music together their entire lives, but they’ve never done the kind of show they’re about to do at 4 p.m. Sunday at Stage 33 Live in Bellows Falls.
The longtime Vermont musicians known as The Sky Blue Boys are set to perform a special two-set show with the first half spotlighting original songs, followed by their old-time live radio show.
“My brother and I have been playing together since we were teenagers,” “Banjo” Dan Lindner said in a recent phone interview. “Our shows are typically a combination of older songs, some updated songs, plus our own originals. We’re playing this show for Stage 33, and their mission, as I understand it, is all original music.”
From the beginning, both Lindners were inspired by the early country music duos from the 1940s and ‘50s. They formed the much-loved Vermont bluegrass band Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys, which toured and recorded extensively during its 40-year run. The band retired, but both Dan and Willy found they wanted to keep playing.
“We’d always played music together, so we decided to keep going as a duo,” Lindner said, “which makes us a little more flexible; we can play small places, large places, wherever we can get a job. So we’ve been playing together a very long time.”
They also play eight different instruments between them, which gives them a lot of variety. “For a duo, we have flexibility and harmonies and instrumental combinations, so it keeps us interested and stimulated.”
But it’s the songwriting that’s kept them going for so long. Though they’ve collaborated, they mostly work independently when writing, finding inspiration in separate places. Willy spent time in the domestic Peace Corps in Tennessee, and a lot of his originals are inspired by his experiences there.
“Although I’m the older brother, I sort of followed his lead in writing original songs,” said Dan Lindner, whose inspiration comes from Vermont history and personalities and folklore.
“I really like story songs,” he explained. “I’ve found a lot of good stories out there and made up some of my own, and that’s been my specialty.”
Which will fit right in with Stage 33 Live’s agenda of all originals.
“We’re finding it very stimulating,” Lindner said. “We’ve written some new songs recently, and we’re reviving songs we recorded years ago. So we’re doing a show of entirely original songs — something unusual for us and something we’re really looking forward to.”