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The music is Dunwell

Brothers Joe and David Dunwell didn’t expect the success of the last few years, nor to be playing with each other.

Brothers in musical arms Joe and David Dunwell are six years apart, enough of a difference for them to begin their careers in the English music scene separately before fate intervened.

At an open mic, the brothers started harmonizing, something they’d messed around with growing up in a musical household (their dad plays classical guitar), though never together in public.

A talent agent in the crowd insisted on booking them together.

In the three years since, the Leeds, England,-based Dunwell brothers have been joined by childhood friend Dave Hanson on guitar and cousins Jonny Lamb and Rob Clayton on drums and bass respectively. The result is the unique chemistry on their 2012 debut album, “Blind Sighted Faith.”

“Some songs are true and some aren’t, but I believe every word I sing,” Joe Dunwell said.

That’s recognized by fans across the pond and here in the States, where the folk rock of Mumford and Sons has already found a home.

The Dunwells have played the festival circuit on multiple international tours, including last year’s SXSW, and were scheduled at Lollapalooza before a Chicago storm interfered. As if their rise wasn’t surreal enough, “Almost Famous” director Cameron Crowe tweeted support after a Los Angeles show.

The chorus of critic and fan approval is only outdone by the harmonies of The Dunwells themselves. This will come up again and again because all five chipping in on vocals is the best, and sometimes eeriest, aspect of their music. They’re a generally guitar driven affair, but the plunking banjo of David Dunwell is another serendipitous addition to The Dunwells’ sound.

“We went out and bought a bunch of instruments for 500 pounds,” Joe Dunwell said. “We were practicing, [David grabbed] the banjo — it just worked.”

It’s one more aspect of their sound that keeps The Dunwells a sum that’s greater than its parts. By themselves, they’re three busking guitarists with good voices and a gigging rhythm section. Together, they’re called a modern Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Offstage, though, you get a different vocal treat: Their singing voices are clear as day, but the moment they break into conversation, the Yorkshire accent kicks in full throttle, and a lifetime of watching the BBC wouldn’t save a linguist.


What: The Dunwells

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: $24

Ages: All ages

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