Brother duets are the basis of the bluegrass sound. Starting with Bill and Charlie Monroe, who were a part of an already established tradition, we have enjoyed brothers singing together since named Stanley, McReynolds, and Louvin.
There is a long tradition of musical brothers singing together: Reno & Smiley, Paisley and Lundy, Connie and Babe, and now Mindte and Stephens. This is the duo’s second recording, and it surpasses their first for spirit and level of comfort with the material. From the energetic opening cut, “Columbus Stockade,” they set the tone for this great set. The very next cut, “It Rained A Mist” is the surreal duet that was a standard in the repertory of Bob Paisley and Ted Lundy, one of the best old-time bluegrass songs of all time.
Brother duets were a primary sound of the Great Depression. A guitar, a mandolin and two voices in tight harmony filled the radio airwaves early in the morning and at noon-time, when our mostly rural ancestors were getting ready to go to the fields and were inside for the large noon-time meal. The songs are filled with sentimentality and consoling words of faith. There are songs of love like “Sparkling Brown Eyes,” complete with a full range of vocal expression complete with yodels.
These two voices blend to capture the true power of the material. There is a full sound here with just two voices and two instruments. The record quality is top notch not only catching the voices in all of their depth, but also the guitar and mandolin sound, as well. This is highly recommended to all fans of the old style, the way it was once at the core of bluegrass and country music. This is one fine duo, and this is their best recording yet. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.) RCB