Brothers Alvin reunite for Bronzy tribute disc
Thursday, February 27, 2014
– Dave and Phil Alvin are joining forces for a new album.
The brothers, who have had an at times difficult relationship, announced they would release "Common Ground: Dave Alvin + Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy" on June 3 on Yep Roc. This will be the first album the brothers, who were the mainstays of The Blasters, have made together in almost 30 years.
"We argue sometimes, but we never argue about Big Bill Broonzy," says Dave Alvin when explaining why he and Phil were inspired to record "Common Ground." The Alvin brothers, who founded seminal early LA punk roots band The Blasters in 1979, have shared an interest in Broonzy since childhood. After an illness nearly took Phil's life in 2012, they resolved to return to the studio and pay tribute to the blues legend.
The disc includes 12 songs that capture a 30-year cross section of Broonzy's work, performed by the Alvins' in a roots and stomping country blues style.
"He looked so slick," says Phil about the cover of his first Broonzy album, which he purchased in a department store at age 12.
Dave agrees, "I remember the day Phil brought that record home. It's a strong childhood memory - like stealing a Playboy for the first time."
The Alvins' interpretations of Big Bill range from faithful to loose and Dave and Phil both play guitar and sing. They are joined on some tracks by Dave's band members Lisa Pankratz (drums) and Brad Fordham (bass) as well as The Blasters' pianist Gene Taylor. Other tracks feature noted session musicians Bob Glaub (bass) and Don Heffington (drums). All tracks were recorded at Winslow Court Studios in Los Angeles.
Though this is their first album together in decades, the Alvin brothers collaborated last year on "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," the southern gothic supernatural musical by Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett. They also sang a duet on "What's Up With Your Brother" for Dave's last Yep Roc release "Eleven/Eleven."
Brothers Alvin will tour extensively in 2014, including dates with the Roots on Rails series in April. A Record Store Day exclusive release of four songs from "Common Ground" cut at 45 RPM on two 10-inch records packaged as a 78-style album book will also be available via Yep Roc on April 19.
1. All By Myself
2. I Feel So Good
3. How You Want It Done
4. Southern Flood Blues
5. Big Bill Blues
6. Key To The Highway
8. Just A Dream
9. You've Changed
10. Stuff They Call Money
11. Trucking Little Woman
12. Saturday Night Rub
More news for Dave Alvin
CD reviews for Dave Alvin
Accomplished singer songwriter Dave Alvin breaks new ground with his "Eleven Eleven." This marks the first time he has written and recorded songs while on tour, used musicians he had not recorded with since his early days with The Blasters, and for the first time ever he sings with his brother Phil on the humorous What's Up With Your Brother. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?
After hearing this record, the question is why it took so long? The disc features three »»»
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women
With his latest collaborative effort with the Guilty Women, Dave Alvin proves himself a deft genre jumper and provides the listener with a wonderfully diverse musical selection ranging from traditional to up-tempo rockers. The Guilty Women, a replacement here for Alvin's usual Guilty Men, are a who's who of musicians and vocalists: Sarah Brown, Cindy Cashdollar, Amy Farris, Nina Gerber, Laurie Lewis, Christy McWilson and Lisa Pankratz. Of the dozen tracks, McWilson and Brown contributed »»»
West of the West
Dave Alvin has chosen to record songs by songwriters either born or raised in California on this album, rather than recording his excellent originals. So listeners are treated to Alvin's interpretations of songs by the likes of Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Jackson Browne, Brian Wilson and Jerry Garcia.
The album also showcases Alvin's wonderful musical diversity - in fact, the first six songs alternate between largely acoustic folk ballads and smoldering blues. So Alvin starts by singing the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Henry comes out the other end a better man
Joe Henry mentioned at the outset that this show was not only the record release celebration, but also the anniversary - to the day - of when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although the songs from this fine new album do not address his illness directly, they many times touch upon the big issues of human existence (life, death and the meaning of it all).... »»»
Concert Review: What's in a name? Strings lives up to it
Billy Strings may not be his real name, but the bluegrass performer more than lives up to his adopted moniker.
Bluegrass may not be the first style of music when one thinks of William Apostol's (yup, that's Billy's real name) home state of Michigan, but with more miles on the bus and shows like this outstanding, lengthy, lyrical night... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018,... »»»
Until recently, Chris Shiflett took a somewhat obsessive/compulsive approach to his music career. For the past two decades, Shiflett has been the primary guitar foil for Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters; early in his tenure, Shiflett was so self-deprecatingly... »»»
Most hard core country fans certainly have heard David Ball's 1994 "Thinkin' Problem," a true honky tonk classic. Ominvore is releasing the album in remastered expanded format with eight bonus tracks, marking its 25th anniversary. »»»
Veteran Texas artist Stoney Larue has been through a lot in 20 years of touring and recording and puts that experience to good use on his first release since 2015's "Just Us." "Onward" enlists veteran Nashville producer and songwriter Gary Nicholson »»»
Travelin' Thru The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969 featuring Johnny Cash
All these many years later, Bob Dylan 'bootleg' songs are still better than many intentional studio releases from other artists. Although some might have been shocked at the time to learn of Dylan's sojourn south to Nashville »»»
Play the Hits
When The Mavericks call an album "Play The Hits," It really should be qualified as "Play The Selective Hits" because this band has never been especially interested in performing only what's commercially viable. »»»
Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock
Houston-based singer-songwriter and former lawyer Libby Koch celebrates the 10th anniversary of her first album, "Redemption," by releasing a full band, live audience setting for what was originally a solo acoustic album. »»»
Live From the Ryman
The very best way - the only way, really - to see Old Crow Medicine Show is live. Like its namesake, the medicine shows of old that were part preaching, part snake oil sales pitches, part old time music and pure entertainment, »»»