It may be a surprise to hear the country rock sounds of Detroit's Deadstring Brothers coming from a city better known for loud rock and roll, but disillusionment can take many channels. Desolation, frustration and regret have always been present where great country music was played, and from its bombed-out inner city to its sterile suburbs, Detroit has its share.
Deadstring Brothers began in fall 2003. Since then, the band has worked to develop their own take on the American Sound, drawing influences from a variety of sources. "It's all in there somehow," declares Kurt, "but blues and country music just feel the most natural."
Not unlike Exile-era Stones, Deadstring Brothers deliver a menacing sound that draws equally on the melancholy of country ballads and the abandon of rock and blues. The bands music is deeply rooted in the storytelling and instrumental traditions of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and the American Outlaw Movement, but is also informed by the song structure and understated aggression commonly associated with Detroit bands. Their haunting melodies reveal the influence of early 70s rock icons like The Band and Gram Parsons and The Faces. Deadstring Brothers live performances have the energy of guitar rock, but sophisticated arrangements, Hammond organ, and a focus on traditional American music separate them from many of their Detroit contemporaries.
The band has been touring steadily since the 2004 release of their eponymous debut and have shared the stage with acts ranging from Shooter Jennings, Cat Power and Jesse Sykes to Giant Sand, My Morning Jacket, Drive by Truckers and the Mekons. Look for for their latest release, Silver Mountain on Bloodshot Records!
Vocals / Guitars
Bass / Backing vocals
E. Travis Harrett
Piano / B-3 Organ
Pedal Steel / Lap Steel / Dobro / Guitar
Silver Mountain, 2007
Starving Winter Report, 2006
Deadstring Brothers, 2006
Possibly 4th Street: Deadstring Brothers on the LES
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When the Detroit-based Deadstring Brothers released their critically acclaimed U.S. debut, Starvin... When the Detroit-based Deadstring Brothers released their critically acclaimed U.S. debut, Starving Winter Report, in the winter of 2006, they took to the road, touring with sidemen on steel guitar while seeking a permanent collaborator with a shared vision. They found what they were looking for in London, where the Heavy Load club scene was packing in rock n’ roll fans who danced all night to bands like The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes and The Allman Brothers. A bona-fide scene had developed that continues to grow today, where young players seeking kindred souls to play blues and country-tinged rock come together. On meeting Spencer Cullum, a young pedal steel/guitar player with the love of warm, analog rock n’ roll, their mission was accomplished. Rounding out the line up were Spencer’s brother Jeff on bass and fellow Brit Patrick Kenneally on piano and organ. Their shared musical language is easily explained by a look back to the late 60’s, when young players from both sides of the Atlantic took cues from Delta blues players like Blind Willie Johnson and Son House. The London scene that brought the current line-up of the band together is immortalized in Silver Mountain’s “Meet Me Down at Heavy Load” a scorching number with equal measures of rock swagger and soulful vocals.
Recorded in the Deadstring Brother’s own recording studio, Silver Mountain boasts the tunesmanship of The Faces and the barroom howl of The Band stewed together in homage to the blues of the American South and dancehalls of the urban factory North. Music like this formed the genesis of album-oriented FM rock - this record showcases high energy bluesy rave-ups and hymnal country ballads.
Raw and feverish, Silver Mountain is the sound of a band working at its peak, synthesizing common influences (regardless of one’s birthplace) with a modern edge. Cut from jaws of Michigan steel, East London pubs and honed from months on the never-ending road, the Deadstring Brothers testify to the soul-saving grace of rock n’ roll.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.