Review: A Band of Brother Brothers
The Brothers Brothers/cover to cover/Compass
Four out of five stars
In the world of music, only a few things can be considered constants. The first is the fact that nothing is more demanding than fraternal harmonies. The other is that hedges are a risky proposition. Surpassing or even equaling the originals sets a high bar for acceptance. There’s no substitute for originality, so if you’re going to track someone else’s song, you better make a distinctive impression.
On the other hand, given the first advantage, the chances of overcoming any obstacles with regard to attempts with regard to the second proposition are considerably better. The Everly Brothers have provided enough evidence. So add The Brother Brothers to the latest list of contenders. Brother duo Adam and David Moss not only possess an impressive range of instrumental skills, but they also have the advantage of sharing demanding harmonies, creating a synchronicity that provides an unmistakable depth of devotion.
As a result, their decision to go the cover route for the aptly named cover to cover turns out to be a wise choice. Although in some cases such a venture serves as a stop-gap laborer before another project, here it serves as yet another example of the brothers’ abilities. Only two albums and an EP in their collective career, they already prove that they have what it takes to make an impression. So even though some songs lean heavily on the familiarity factor – for example, “That’s How I Came to Memphis”, “These Days”, James Taylor’s sweet serenade “You Can Close Your Eyes “, the Beatles’ “I Will” proviso—the two wear their covers with such reverence and reverence that they exude a charm all their own. And while these songs were special in their original incarnations, the Brothers here offer a refreshing return to each one.
This proves that one never tires of a memorable melody.
An equally wonderful supporting cast is there to help, including Alison Brown on banjo, Michaela Anne on harmonies, and Sarah Jarosz playing mandolin and singing. The harmonies too. It’s no surprise, then, that the combined effort exudes the celebratory sensibility that music demands and deserves. With Cover to cover, this heat radiates from within.
Photo by Kaityn Raitz/Compass Records