New at Elmore

Elmore At Folk Alliance, Part 3 (Toronto, Ontario, CA)

Brother Sun Folk Alliance International TorontoHaving seen some 300 bands at Folk Alliance where the competition for spots runs hot and heavy and the quality runs high, this week I’ll point out a few exceptional talents, starting with these two.

New York-based trio Brother Sun will soon release their latest album, and it’s superb. Their thoughtful songs blend perfectly with covers of Woody Guthrie and Mose Allison, and these guys have three stellar guitarists, three strong lead singers and ethereal, intricate harmonies, whether a cappella or accompanied. Auto-Tune won’t earn a nickel from Brother Sun. Check out “In the Name of Love,” “Sad” and “True.”

Backyard Devils stray as far from “ethereal” as the envelope goes. Hard and fast country with bluegrass stains on their jeans, this New Brunswick quartet feels as comfortable with Waylon Jennings and the Outlaws as Brother Sun does with Crosby, Stills & Nash. Rough-voiced lyrics like “You better thank the good Lord Jesus, cause he ain’t never been there for me” in tunes named “Big Trucks & Steel Trains” and “Mean Moonshine Blues” (“she was drunk and mad, a woman with a plan”) paint a fairly accurate portrait of their style, a perfect soundtrack for crazy grins, fast dancing and Moosehead lager.

– Suzanne Cadgene

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