Album Reviews

The Brothers Comatose

City Painted Gold

Artist:     The Brothers Comatose

Album:     City Painted Gold

Label:     Swamp Jam Records

Release Date:     03/11/2016


After solidifying their reputation through constant touring and two stellar previous releases, the Brothers Comatose’s latest effort offers a case study in tightly tailored musicianship and the kind of close-knit harmonies that only siblings can deliver. Granted, their name is a misnomer, but brothers Ben and Alex Morrison, who helm the band with guitar, banjo and shared vocals, instill a sense of confidence and a timeless devotion to craft that bows both to tradition and contemporary designs. Theirs is a rugged, rustic sound that’s implied in each of these eleven songs, one that allows their old-timey string band approach to ring with an air of authenticity. The down home approach is inherent throughout, with opening track “Brothers” illuminating the cause for their ties and tenacity. Bassist Gio Benedetti, fiddler Philip Brezina and mandolin player Ryan Avellone assert their strengths in this high energy approach, making songs such as “Angeline,” “Knoxville Foxhole” and “She’s a Hurricane” classic examples of a freewheeling, far-reaching contemporary approach that’s clearly in sync with populist appeal. Like the Punch Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Yonder Mountain String Band and others of that ilk, Brothers Comatose find common ground in past and present, redefining bluegrass for a current generation of festival fans and eager enthusiasts. Sometimes rowdy, often reflective, it’s little wonder then that City Painted Gold shines as bright as it does.

– Lee Zimmerman

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