Deadstring Brothers - Sao Paulo
From the classic rock echoes that hang heavy like the reefer smoke
in the rafters of Detroit's Cobo Hall, to the soul reflected in the
alleys and small faces of London's Heavy Load scene to the exile off
Main Street, few bands channel the sonic groove generated at the
headwaters of our rock and roll DNA like Deadstring Brothers.They
know that rock and roll is both disease and redemption, penalty and
reward, intoxicant and hangover. They know that a powerhouse hook
exhilarates even as you're getting kicked in the heart. The Brothers,
in their leather boots and frayed jeans, tenaciously trudge through the
oil slick puddles of a dying city, the hard light splitting into
prismatic rainbows, finding beauty in decay.
By using the studio itself as an instrument like they never have before, Deadstring Brothers have made Sao Paulo,
their 3rd album for Bloodshot, a record for the classic rock fan in all
of us, but never stoop to mimicry. Just check out the stoner
exoticism of the title track, in all its fever dreams and revelatory
thunder, the Leon Russell-inflected boogie of "Smile" or the comforting
guitar crunch and soaring organ riffs in "The River Song" that speak to
riding the open road in a ragtop as well as the sooty factory that made
it all possible.
Lying at the (battered) heart of the record is
singer/guitarist Kurt Marschke. When he sings "I can kneel down, but I
just can't pray" on "It's a Shame," you're hearing a man bloodied and
bowed. Yesterday's Style is the sound of a soul breaking, a
glassy-eyed 1,000 yard stare, the ache coming through the speakers.
Somehow, though, he manages to pull together the remaining shards of
his dignity to look forward and carry on in the closing track "Always A
Friend of Mine", a song so good it should skate into the pantheon of
country rock classics.