Sign up for newsletter
 

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.

Songs are:
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
7. Tomorrow
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

Eleven Eleven CD review - Eleven Eleven
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 CD review - 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 CD review - 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: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Tillis unlocks "Looking for a Feeling" "It had been a while since I'd given my fans any new solo music," Pam Tillis explains, when asked about the motivation behind recording her album "Looking for a Feeling." Until recently, Tillis mostly busied herself by recording and touring with... »»»
Hull takes "25 Trips" Sierra Hull would be the first to tell you that releasing a new CD in the teeth of a global pandemic is a challenge. "It's very strange...just adjusting to being home and knowing what that feels like. It's the most I've... »»»
Lewis (and her daughters) make beautiful music (occasionally) and carry on the legacy Linda Gail Lewis has several interesting bullet points on her lengthy resume. She released her first singles in 1963 at age 16, and her first solo album, "The Two Sides of Linda Gail Lewis," in 1969 when she was just 22; her follow up album wouldn't appear... »»»
Neon Cross CD review - Neon Cross
Many records are touted as inspiring, but few albums actually live up to that billing by actually striking sentiments worthy of universal appeal. In Jaime Wyatt's case, there's never any doubt, »»»
Ghosts of West Virginia CD review - Ghosts of West Virginia
In a time when political views are pushing us further apart as a society, Steve Earle is one of the few artists reaching across that divide to seek common ground. In the case of his album, "Ghosts »»»
Tessy Lou Williams CD review - Tessy Lou Williams
Welcome country traditionalist Tessy Lou Williams who hails from Montana, the daughter of two musicians who emigrated from Nashville to Willow Creek, Mont. (population 210). Her parents toured with their »»»
Ready for the Horses CD review - Ready for the Horses
"It ain't for the faint of heart," Jarrod Dickenson croons on the lead-off track on "Ready the Horses," a rallying cry meant to inspire the reticent among us in this era of distrust »»»
Songs I Can't Live Without CD review - Songs I Can't Live Without
After a seven-year hiatus, Marshall Chapman is back with "Songs I Can't Live Without," her 14th release and eighth on her own label. The 71-year-old singer-songwriter-author-actress had intended to retire from music »»»
Copy That CD review - Copy That
Nine songs in, Sara Evans finally unleashes a country song that she wanted to cover. And it's one of the most copied songs at that - Hank's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." The cut is a decided left turn from the rest »»»