Cannery Row

Deadstring Brothers

Bloodshot Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


While country rock might be an anomaly coming from rhe Motor City, Detroit's Deadstring Brothers has been refining their rustic blend of soul, blues, gospel and country for a decade now. Maybe expectedly, the band has recently relocated to Nashville; since then, The Rolling Stones-meets-Grams Parsons feel of their music has continued to flourish, often taking in the twangy vibes of their new home. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now with an all-star line up consisting of ex-members of Ryan Adams' backing band The Cardinals, Hank Jr., and Willie Nelson's band, Deadstring Brothers has released their fifth album.  Cannery Row furthers their distinct country sound with traces of classic rock and gritty Americana feelings from a very acoustic-focused angle.

This is very warm and often rootsy listen. Tracks like the opener "Like A California Wildfire" highlight the ever so soothing pedal steel in a way that Whiskeytown perfected, while others, like the piano-led "Lucille's Honky Tonk," would have you line dancing on the back porch with your partner as the fireflies illuminate the twilight sky. The album often evokes the '70s Rolling Stones comparisons they've always inspired, and frontman Kurt Marschke even references this notion in song. Still, the band finds a unique identity through their fusion of classic rock ideas amid a handful of instruments.

The musicianship here is remarkable from beginning to end. Marschke's lightning quick guitar picking makes the upbeat "It's Morning Irene" one of the best tracks, though the soulful keys on "Cannery Row" secures itself a close second. "Long Lonely Road" is a lively rocker anchored by the piano, while "The Mansion" makes a place for Marschke's rich, rustic voice to reside front and center (and the female backing vocals are a nice addition).

Though the band keeps their Motor City roots firmly planted, they also inject a more rootsy American spirit to their timeless, soulful brand of rock 'n' roll. Fiddles, mandolins, and a dobro are all put to good use, allowing Deadstring Brothers to deliver a breezy, retro country album that touches on many genres.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Bloodshot Records, and is used for informational purposes only.