Brijean’s New Track ‘Caldwell’s Way’ Meets Grief With a Hug

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Brijean is Brijean Murphy (left) and Doug Stuart.  (Photo: Jack Bool; illustration: Kelly Heigert.)

Welcome to Pass the Aux, where KQED Arts & Culture brings you our favorite new tracks by Bay Area artists. Check out past entries and submit a song for future coverage.

There are plenty of songs about romantic breakups, but what about the loss of friendship or family, which can be just as painful, if not more so? A new track from the band Brijean, “Caldwell’s Way,” conjures that feeling of platonic longing.

“Caldwell’s Way” is a much more downcast track than what we’re used to hearing from this duo. Typically, Brijean make upbeat, house and disco-inspired dance tracks with a retro sound. They’re powered by lead singer Brijean Murphy’s incredibly dexterous conga playing, which she first learned from her dad Patrick Murphy, who once played with greats like Tito Puente.

Brijean Murphy came up as a touring percussionist with Toro y Moi and Poolside before joining her partner Doug Stuart on the project Brijean. Stuart—a bassist, keyboard player, producer and composer—has credits in lots of different projects, including Oakland indie rock band Bells Atlas.


“Caldwell’s Way” is the latest track off Brijean’s forthcoming EP Angelo, which comes out on Aug. 5. Played on a movie soundtrack, the song could accompany a main character gazing out a train window and contemplating life. The duo wrote it after facing the loss of both of Stuart’s parents and Murphy’s dad, and the loss of community they felt after moving away from the Bay Area, where they spent the past 10 years.

Many of us are dealing with a lot of loss and change as well, and this is the kind of song you can lean your head on.