It started with NPR's All Songs Considered streaming the new album I & Love & You which I listened to repeatedly (while concentrating deeply on my work of course). I couldn't listen all that closely but I could tell I liked it and away we went. Now I know that this album, their first on a major label, has been received a lukewarm response from the critics for not being as cutting edge and adventuresome, for being sappy and not "true" enough--but really that narrative is so predictable it isn't worth worrying over. Then again, who am I to say since I am coming at their work from this perspective?
Well, here are a few of the reasons I have been enjoying this album and we will get to the Brothers in general in a minute.
- The album as a whole is uplifting which is not to say that all the songs are happy or upbeat, although some certainly are. It is uplifting to me because the lyrics seem primarily about trying to deal with life--the good, bad, happy, sad--as it comes without overstatement. They realize certain things at this point in their life but aren't preaching to anyone that they have all the answers. It is what it is.
- The music is simply put, beautiful. The arrangements have plenty going on but with lots of space among the instruments. This is helped by a really wonderful mix where each instrument comes out clean but integrated. And of course, that all rides on top of simply wonderful songs.
- Even if they are not as adventuresome here, it is clear that these guys have a good understanding of a wide range of music and the influences, from bluegrass to jazz to blues comes through.
- And ultimately it is perhaps because the music speaks to me both lyrically and musically.
Now in the interest of time (mine and yours), I will come back to these brothers in another post to look at an earlier effort as I work my way back through their catalog.