Bay Area hillbilly-gothgrass band The Earl Brothers recently released their fourth record, titled simply “The Earl Brothers” (Big Hen Music 004), and packaged in a solid white Digipak. Their dark mountain sound has kept its cold hard core, suffering little from the loss of John McKelvy‘s trademark high tenor vocals and strong songwriting. In his wake the band brought in Tom Lucas (former Crooked Jades) on fiddle and Danny Morris on flattop guitar. (My previous post is here.)
If it’s possible, this record sounds even more archaic than their previous releases, sporting more waltz-time songs than one might expect in a modern album, and mining the old-time gospel vein more than once. As before, all songs are originals; all but one were penned by banjo picker Bobby Davis. Again, mando builder Larry Hughes appears here and there on mandolin. This record appears to be a new start for the band, as if the Earl Brothers have been washed in the blood and born again. Well done boys!