The Crooked Brothers (Emily Christie)
Who says you can't choose your family? The Crooked Brothers are kindred, no question.
Their blend of timeless country classic sounds, back porch blues and stomping scrap yard funk has gained the attention of many folk festival and roots music fans both live and on their carefully crafted albums. As with "Deathbed Pillowtalk" (2009), their sophomore release "Lawrence, Where's Your Knife?" (2011) was self-produced and recorded in a small cabin over a cold Manitoban winter. From the very first track on Lawrence, the Brothers are quick to let us know this is not going to be just another folk album.
A good dance, a good cry, it's all here. Music full of hips and heart. Slinky throbbing bass lines and growling melodies, or a heartache stripped and unadorned. The diversity in instrumentation and vocal arrangements are the vanguard of The Crooked Brothers' art.
Touched first by a three-part harmony, the driving insistence of a strutting funky beat, or maybe the lonesome caterwaul of a lap steel - the listener is drawn in and invited into the true heart of these songs. The poetry. Every word deliberate. Their timbre and lyric summon imagery of resilient souls, of long tough winters, of sadness, sorrow and longing, of sex and mortality. They get lonely and low as low can be, but they are also quick to celebrate.
Jesse Matas, Darwin Baker and Matt Foster - all three are songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. Banjos, mandolins, dobro, guitar and harmonicas all take turns being juggled from brother to brother.
Text courtesy of CBC Radio 3
Crooked Brothers play 17 Horses at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, July, 2011