Review: A Band of Brother Brothers

The Brother Brothers/Cover To Cover/Compass
Four Out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

In the music biz, only a couple of things can be considered constants. The first is the fact that nothing is more exacting than sibling harmonies. The other is that covers are a risky proposition. Besting or even equaling the originals makes for a high bar as far as acceptance is concerned. There’s no substitute for originality, so if you’re gonna retrace someone else’s song, you damn well better make a distinctive impression.

On the other hand, given the first advantage, the odds of overcoming any obstacle as far as any attempts as far as the second proposition is concerned are considerably better. The Everly Brothers provided proof enough. So add The Brother Brothers to the last list of contenders. Sibling duo Adam and David Moss not only possess an impressive range of instrumental skills between them, but they also have the advantage of sharing exacting harmonies, creating synchronicity that provides an unquestionable depth of devotion. 

As a result, their decision to go the covers route for the aptly-named Cover To Cover proves an appropriate choice. Although in some cases an undertaking of this type serves as a stop-gap maneuver prior to another project, here it serves as another example of the brothers’ abilities. Only two albums and an EP into their collective career, they’re already proving that they have what it takes to make an emphatic impression. So even though some songs lean heavily on the familiarity factor—i.e., “That’s How I Got to Memphis,” “These Days,” James Taylor’s sweet serenade “You Can Close Your Eyes,” The Beatles’ promissory proviso “I Will”—the two convey their covers with such reverence and regard that they exude a charm all their own. And while these songs were special in their original incarnations, the Brothers offer a refreshing return to each of them here. 

It proves the point that one never tires of a memorable melody.

An equally wonderful supporting cast is on hand to help out—among them, Alison Brown on banjo, Michaela Anne on harmonies, and Sarah Jarosz playing mandolin and singing. Harmonies as well. Not surprisingly then, the combined effort exudes the celebratory sensibility the music demands and deserves. With Cover To Cover, that warmth radiates from within.

Photo by Kaityn Raitz / Compass Records

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