Album Reviews

The Gage Brothers

Artist:     The Gage Brothers

Album:     The Gage Brothers

Label:     Self-released

Release Date:     05.05.2017

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The Gage Brothers typify the sound of modern bluegrass, all up-tempo tunes, exacting harmonies and a riveting sound that invites populist devotion. This, the second album by Ohio-based brothers Ben and Zach Gage, benefits form a fresh enthusiasm that allows the music to run a gamut from the absolute exhilaration of opening track “All You Are” to the rustic treatment accorded “Teaching Myself the Blues.” In both instances, the band retains an honest, down home delivery that stays true to a sound obviously spun from heartland homilies.

One reason for their fresh approach has to do with the addition of new recruits Brendan O’Malley on mandolin and Chris Volpe on banjo. The twosome provide instrumental additives that complement the brothers’ clear country sound. That’s especially true on a song like “My Baby” which, with its plucking and picking, rings with Appalachian authenticity. It’s easy to imagine the foursome whiling away an afternoon on the front porch while sharing songs of harmony and happenstance.

Happily then, the Gage Brothers have seized on a formula that works well without bending any boundaries. Easy and accessible, the Gage Brothers’ sophomore set points the way to a promising future. Modern bluegrass truly doesn’t get any better than this.

—Lee Zimmerman

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