Local southern-rock/country favorite Kanan Road has existed in its current form for just over three years, its members have been playing music together for as long as they can remember. And being that the three band members ---- Kyle, Kanan and Kory Cox ---- are brothers, a close-knit musical history is understandable.
"We have actually been together as a musical entity since we were taught how to play guitar in our mid teens," Kanan says.
The brothers began writing original songs together 12 years ago, when they were in high school, but over the last decade, they felt increasingly ready to perform for audiences.
"(We first) got the bug to perform for others," Kanan said, "after close family and friends began responding very positively to our spontaneous jam sessions at family function get-togethers."
As would seem the case with a literal band of brothers, family is all-important to Kanan Road.
"We thank God that we have very strong and supportive families who, unconditionally, continue to allow us to move our music to the next level," Kanan said.
Family support helps them overcome the rigors of a musical career: booking shows, writing songs, endless rehearsal and studio time, as well as maintaining an online presence, all accomplished on top of their full-time day jobs.
"Because music is such a passion of ours," Kanan said, "we measure our success solely based on the reception we receive from one performance to the next."
In order to prepare for these performances, the brothers rehearse two to three nights a week, writing new songs and perfecting established ones. One of the main strengths of their outfit, Kanan insisted, is the way they are able to combine their different musical perspectives and abilities to form a unified output.
"We tend to write the hooks of our songs around our collective vocal capabilities," he said.
The band's penchant for three-part harmonies is both a testament to their abilities, and to their reverence for the tradition from which they draw inspiration. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, and The Allman Brothers are counted among Kanan Road's long list of influences.
But as its sound matures, Kanan Road has begun to carve out its own sound. Early tracks are guitar-driven, straight-forward country with a certain southern-rock weight added almost as an afterthought. Newer material increases the harmonies and introduces, as Kanan explained, more piano, keyboards, banjo, and slide guitar. The band's sound, and its touring van, are filling out.
The brothers, who moved to the Temecula Valley in 2001, play in the area regularly. Their next big show is at the Valley Wide County Fair in Hemet on April 8 ---- followed by a record release party on at the Merc in Temecula on April 16.
Kanan Road is ultimately concerned with two things in their music: telling a story and having fun.
"The story-telling lyrics have always proved to be very infectious for us," Kanan said, "Which is why we lean more toward a country-music style of writing."
The song "Chasing a Memory," for example, explores Kyle's struggle with nostalgia and his inability to live in and appreciate the present. He sings about his life and his family and how they are more than he could've asked for, but that he feels like he's missing things because he's continually looking to his past and hoping to relive it. The melody and the story are straight-forward, but they hint to more complicated issues.
Through music, the brothers have been able to work out the complications in their lives, just as was illustrated in "Chasing a Memory."
"Music has gotten us through many years of ups and downs, and we are very thankful for it," Kanan said. "Our parents taught us to always do what makes us happy, because life is too short not to."
at Valley-Wide Country Fair
7 p.m. April 8
Diamond Valley Lake Community Park, 1801 Angler Ave., Hemet