Rhythm & Roots – Dave and Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones

Ninigret Park / Charlestown, RI


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by James St. Laurent

Dave and Phil Alvin made a name for themselves over three decades ago with their high energy band the Blasters. After a falling out over some brotherly issues, the two of them got back together, touring not with their own music, but with the music of Big Bill Broonzy.

Now, the two have again put out their own music, and are back with a tip of the hat (and the drums) to Dave’s recent touring band, the Guilty Women, as Dave and Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones, with Guilty Woman Lisa Pankratz on drums.

Dave paved the way on most of the tunes, both on guitar and vocals, and although Phil appeared somewhat frail, when he did take lead, he came on strong. In one of several memorable moments, a killer drum solo by Lisa Pankratz caused every other band member to lay back and grin from ear to ear. Joining in on harmonica, the Alvin brothers contributed a heavenly “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Dave at one point told the audience that he and Phil had spent 33 years apart “and I regret every minute of it.” Hearing them play together now, so do I.

-Suzanne Cadgene

Read our Influences interview with the Alvin Brothers HERE.

Got something to say?