The Brother Brothers – Cover To Cover
An interesting concept of covers — some notable, some not so notable but all written & recorded by famous names. The level of songwriting presented on this fine CD produced by The Brother Brothers & recorded in Nashville shimmers. The opener’s Tom T. Hall’s “That’s How I Got To Memphis,” with the duo sounding very Everly Brothers in tradition & it works well & not as an imitation.
A Jackson Browne tune made famous by the late Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico is “These Days,” — rendered with finesse & vocal satin. The brothers’ harmonies could only be equaled by The Everly’s themselves. They’re that good.
Obviously, brothers Adam (fiddle/Wurlitzer) & David Moss (cello/guitars) are fans vocally of The Everly Brothers & it shows since their sound is impeccable.
Singer Sarah Jarosz (mandolin/harmony vocals) joins on James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes.” It’s about as lovely a song as you can get. Recorded with care & clarity throughout each cover is inspired – they’re not delivered as they were originally & they shouldn’t be. The Brother Brothers manage to put their signature on each with respect & with a spray of harmonic voices.
The 38-minute CD Cover To Cover (Drops Aug 5–Compass Records) is filled with satisfying moments as it proceeds through its menu. The late Judee Sill’s “There’s a Rugged Road,” is spiritual without being preachy. Even with a lack of any embellishment, the song is performed with purity. The duo obviously knows what works for their showcase. Nothing is forced or overcooked.
The Beatles’ “I Will” comes across as equally musical & poignant as the original. The coolest of 40s songwriting cats Hoagy Carmichael wrote “I Get Along Without You Very Well” covered by Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker & Billie Holiday. Not bad. Now, it’s performed with great harmony since it doesn’t emulate any of the past performers. It’s basically an acapella with a haunting chorale ala Procol Harum. The brother’s unified vocal sounds as one. Hoagy would take his toothpick out of his mouth & tip his hat to these boys.
“Waltzing’s For Dreamers,” is a Richard Thompson number that’s plaintive with grace & power. Lyrics are always wonderful in a Thompson song. The duo embodies each syllable musically & adds strings to its well-realized goal & Thompson would approve.
Tom Waits’ “Flower’s Grave” closes. It’s a little off-putting since Waits is famous for his gruff raw vocals but here it’s sensitively displayed with cello bellowing nicely. It has potency; soaks slowly with a bittersweet beauty as sad as the song is. A good conclusion to an excellent collection.
Musicians: Ryan Scott (electric guitar/organ), Alison Brown (banjo), Michael Rinne (bass), Jeff Picker (acoustic lead guitar/bass), Matty Meyer (drums), Michaela Anne, Rachael & Emily Price (harmony vocals).
Image by Kaitlyn Raitz. CD @ Bandcamp & http://www.thebrotherbrothersmusic.com/