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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.
Deadstring Brothers - Sao Paulo 


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