It started with a desire to shine the spotlight on their fellow singer-songwriters, and a shot or two of whiskey.
Some four years later, musicians, and longtime friends, Carter Lansing and Mike Roi have evolved their Bastard Sons show into a popular vehicle for up-and-coming talent and established veterans of the Lehigh Valley's music scene; a space where the stories and inspirations behind their songs are just as important as the music.
Think of it as a looser, less rigid version of VH1 Storytellers or MTV Unplugged, -- with more boozy banter and impromptu jamming.
Tonight, Roi and Lansing will kick off the first in a new monthly live music series, "Bastard Sons Presents...", at Two Rivers Brewing Company in Easton. Described as a "monthly feature where 'Bastards' new and old will share stories and swap songs," the performance will feature sets by Lansing, Roi and blues guitarist/vocalist Dana Gaynor.
The showcase will be held on the third Thursday of each month and will feature Lansing, Roi and a rotating list of guest musicians.
"It’s a great room. (Co-owners) Troy and Kathy (Reynard) and (executive chef) Jeremy (Bialker) have always been very supportive of local music," Lansing said. "So it just seems like the right place...I’m hoping to see more new faces, but also getting some recurring guests."
Troy Reynard reciprocated the appreciation. "I've always been a big fan of Carter and Mike and I'm excited to have them performing at Two Rivers!" he exclaimed.
When not bringing their Bastard Sons show to area music venues -- which have ranged from popular Lehigh Valley pubs to art gallery grottos and coffeehouses -- Lansing and Roi front Easton-based bands Acoustic Kitty Project and Roi and the Secret People, respectively.
Acoustic Kitty Project released the album Saturday Night in 2017; Roi and the Secret People are in the studio working on the follow-up to their 2017 EP Truck Stop Sushi.
Lansing said he has enjoyed doing the Bastard Sons shows because every artist brings something different to the table, regardless of the genre sandbox in which they typically play. "I have to say, Alex Radus was a personal favorite because I have been a fan of his for years," Lansing said. "It was great to finally share a stage with him."
Asked what he has learned the most from the Bastard Sons experience, Lansing simply stated, "There is no right or wrong way to write."
"The Bastard Sons Presents..." is 8 tonight at Two Rivers Brewing Company, 542 Northampton St., Easton. Admission is free.