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Deadstring Brothers

Cannery Row – 2013 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Deadstring Brothers

There are valid reasons why such things as the Betty Crocker Cookbook get passed down from generation to generation. It's because recipes that tasted good 10 or 20 years ago, still taste fantastic today. It's all about including the right ingredients and cooking them up properly. The Deadstring Brothers may not be happy homemakers, but they certainly know the value of passing down ingredient combinations and proper musical preparation.

On the surface, Deadstring Brothers, which are led by guitarist/vocalist Kurt Marschke, have opened themselves up to criticism for wearing their influences on their sleeve. For instance, you can draw a straight line of influence between the '70s, Gram Parsons-inspired Rolling Stones and the country rocking Long Lonely Ride, and connecting The Flying Burrito Brothers themselves with Like A California Wildefire.

Even though these links are obvious, they nevertheless bring out the best aspects of the Betty Crocker Cookbook analogy. This is tasty stuff, especially for those that once ate at the original diner. The combination of Marschke's weary vocals, combined with the emotional steel guitar and soulful organ on Cannery Row, is simply unbeatable. It may not scream originality, but it hits the spot and satisfies.

Lyrically, Deadstring Brothers won't likely put John Steinbeck's legacy in any jeopardy. However, Steinbeck never made a high quality country-rock album like this one, either. One is left saying, 'Hail to the chef!' after enjoying this fulfilling sonic meal.