The Brothers Comatose
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The Brothers Comatose

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Folk Bluegrass




"The Brothers Comatose 'Respect The Van' - 5 Stars - Twisting bluegrass with the wry sharpness and verve that Steve Earle brought to the genre in 2001."

It’s hard to keep still while listening to
the breezy infectious sounds of this young
five-piece string band from San Francisco.
There is an optimism and style about their
music that simultaneously brings a smile to
your face and a shuffle to your feet, much
in the same way as bands like the Lovin’
Spoonful did with their cheerful jug band
music in the 1960s. While not intending
their second full album to have a specific
theme to it, RESPECT THE VAN contains
several songs that draw from the band’s
experiences of touring and travelling on
the road in their beloved 1988 Chevy
G20 van.

Most of the songs began as musical
ideas from either Ben Morrison (vocals,
banjo, guitar) or Gio Benedetti (vocals,
bass). These were then embellished and
polished by the rest of the band, becoming
a collaborative effort. Their lyrics have a
lightness of touch, spiced with humour as
in the catchy Pie For Breakfast, with lines
such as: ‘I’m havin’ pie for breakfast. The
snow is coming down. I’m staring out
the window at a cold and distant town.’
A travelling band sacrifices comfort to
further their musical goals. The jaunty
upbeat tune, with its catchy chorus, is in
keen contrast to the homesick themes in
the narrative. The vocal harmonies, fiddleplaying
and mandolin break in this song
are, as elsewhere, tightly drawn and wellarranged.
There is considerable variety of
pace and content within this eleven-track
album. Special guest and young country
artist, Nicki Bluhm joins Ben Morrison on
the delightful folk ballad, Morning Time—
an eternal tale of two young lovers with
parallel dreams and aspirations—which
could’ve easily come straight out of the
Ryan Adams songbook. Although very
different to the rest of the album, it sits
well between the travelling song, Strings
and the Charlie Daniels-styled Feels Like The
Devil, which raucously bemoans the effects
of a life liberally laced with liquor.
The brief but potent instrumental,
Pennies Are Money Too brings the two new
band members Phil Brezina (fiddle) and
Ryan Avellone (mandolin) to the fore. If
they were to busk this, the pennies would
surely pour into their hat thick and fast!
The Van Song starts with a simple call and
answer between fiddle and banjo before
the rest of the band pick up the pace
with a lively foot-tapping melody—the
two Morrison brothers and Benedetti in
unison, singing a paean of praise to their
trustworthy and reliable vehicle; a goodhearted,
motorised love song. As with their
debut, SONGS FROM THE STOOP, all the tracks
on the current release were recorded at
Prairie Sun Studio in Cotati, California, and
were tracked live in the studio. When Ben
Morrison was interviewed about this, he
said: ‘We got a very live feel out of the first
album, recording it all standing in a circle
in the same room. We took all the things
we liked from that recording and put that
toward the making of RESPECT THE VAN and
I think we came up with a sound we really
like. We wanted a live feel with a little more
isolation on the instruments so we could
get a bigger sound out of everything.’
Their sound being anything but sleepy
and comatose, RESPECT THE VAN is the
product of a band with a driving ambition
and a well strung Satnav set to visit all the
right places in 2012 and beyond!
Simon Beards - Maverick Magazine

"The Brothers Comatose"

"If you don’t get up off of that thing when you listen to this band, then you’re a
zombie." - New Folk Radio

"The Best of Outside Lands: Friday, Aug. 10"

The three groups we caught kicked so much ass on every level, they made most of the main-stage acts we saw sound like amateurs. Brothers Comatose are one of the leading bluegrass combo
s in San Francisco, for good reason: They mean what they play and they play some mean strings. - SF Weekly

"The Highest Highlights of Outside Lands, From Stevie Wonder to Sigur Ros"

it was an old-time medicine show featuring the kind of roots music that normally isn't my cup of twang, except it offered great bands like the Dustbowl Revival, whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day, and the Brothers Comatose, who did a banjo-driven hoedown on the Stones' "Dead Flowers."

it was an old-time medicine show featuring the kind of roots music that normally isn't my cup of twang, except it offered great bands like the Dustbowl Revival, whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day, and the Brothers Comatose, who did a banjo-driven hoedown on the Stones' "Dead Flowers."

it was an old-time medicine show featuring the kind of roots music that normally isn't my cup of twang, except it offered great bands like the Dustbowl Revival, whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day, and the Brothers Comatose, who did a banjo-driven hoedown on the Stones' "Dead Flowers."

- Rolling Stone

"Exclusive New Brothers Comatose Song and Album Giveaway"

"Hailing from San Francisco, scrappy string band The Brothers Comatose are one of Americana’s most entertaining up-and-coming acts. Sophomore album Respect the Van is chock-full of infectious, high-energy songs, making it a perfect summer soundtrack for roadtrips and backyard barbecues." - Engine 145

"The Brothers Comatose - "Respect The Van""

"Their latest and second full-length, Respect The Van, finds this exceptional
quintet cruising with a full tank and thumping on all cylinders…This one is a winner" - Awaiting The Flood & No Depression

"The Brothers Comatose: Respect the Van"

Respect the Van, the second album from the Brothers Comatose, is yet another record that finds a group of guys who spent time in punk and rock bands pouring that same energy into shit-kicking acoustic music. The Brothers, led by actual siblings Ben and Alex Morrison, are a string quintet that splits the difference between their bluegrass and folk influences. That mixture leads to a nice sonic variety on Respect the Van, from the mid-tempo stomps, claps, and “Whoa-oh-oh” sing along of “Modern Day Sinners” to speedy workouts like “Feels Like the Devil” and the lightning-quick instrumental “Pennies Are Money Too”. The folkier material, like the lovely “Morning Time”, a male-female duet with Nicki Bluhm, and the dark, swirlingly creepy “Sleep”, provides a respite from the go-go-go energy of the rest of the record. There’s a surplus of road songs here (“Pie for Breakfast”, “120 East”, “The Van Song”), something you’d expect from a young band who’s constantly on tour. But the real highlight of the album is the jangly “The Scout”, a youth vs. experience diatribe that finds the youngster swearing not to grow up and be like his scout leader. The band plays the song with a jaunty knowingness that skillfully undercuts the young man’s earnest conviction. - PopMatters

"The Brothers Comatose: Bringing New Authenticity to Today’s Swamp Jam"

"Screams. Tambourines. Chopsticks tapping against broken beer bottles. An inflatable alligator knocking around like a beach ball. That old-timey sound replete with three-part harmonies that would make the Kingston Trio cry. This is the kind of atmosphere you get at a Comatose show."

David McFadden-Elliott - June 7, 2010 - Crawdaddy!

"The Brothers Comatose - Twang Bang"

"Folksy, Americana, singer/songwriter, fiddle-burnin' and string pluckin' are The Brothers Comatose. They are a music writer's adjective creatin' wet dream."

by Tony DuShane - March 10, 2010 - SF Gate


"In Songs from the Stoop, the debut CD from The Brothers Comatose, the band has captured much of the joie de vivre of their live shows on a studio recording. This is a band that doesn't fit into a handy category like bluegrass, country or rockabilly but it is definitely Americana. Footstompabilly perhaps?"
- Hicks with Sticks

"Pete Yorn at the Fillmore, San Francisco"

"But for my money, the real charmers were the Brothers Comatose, who played upstairs in the lounge in-between sets and laid the twang on thick, with rhythmic mandolin and guitar, shredded banjo, and exceptional fiddle-fied violin and melodic upright bass. They were the honest gentleman’s scuffed leather, an antidote to the shoe-polish show downstairs. "

by David MacFadden-Elliott • August 27, 2009 - Crawdaddy!

"New Comatose Tracks!"

'Songs From the Stoop' is Jeff's Pick for best full length album for road trips in 2010. 'Swamp Jam' is Jeff's Pick for best way to end a perfect album in 2010. 'Dead Flowers' is Jeff's Pick for best cover of 2010, and best cover of 'Dead Flowers' ever, straight up (take a hike New Riders).

-Dirty Jeff - March 26, 2010 - Dirty Hippie Radio


"Every person in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd was turned into a hand-clapping, glass-clinking, screaming human metronome.
Until this weekend the group [The Brothers Comatose] was a veritable unknown in Santa Cruz. That's all changed, however, since the group brought down the house with an encore-inspiring set of hard-hitting folk standards. Led by a nimble-fingered fiddle player and a swinging standup bass player, the group's show culminated with instructions to "pick up whatever glass you have in front of you and hit it to the rhythm."
Since just about everyone at the shindig had some kind of potent beverage in their clutches, the ensuing cacophony of fork-on-glass violence that accompanied the song "Trippin' On Down" lent a drunken barroom sound to the number, while somewhere Crepe Place owner Adam Bergeron shuddered at the thought of purchasing new glassware. And if the crowd was happy to hear the lively crew bang out music, the band was equally happy to drain the shots and beers bought at random by gracious crowd members, exclaiming at one point, "This place is awesome! How have we never played here before?""

by Curtis Cartier - November 26, 2008 -

"Songs from the Stoop"

"Everything about this disc is, well, honest. Whether raucous, snarky, rave-up, or just happily boogy be-boppin' from track to track, what you hear is exactly what the Brothers Comatose are... Ben and Alex Morrison really are birth brothers and have been musicians since the post-embryo days. It took a while to find the right complements to their work, but, as of the last most inclusion of classically trained Phil Brezina, who knows how to shuck Paganini at a moment's notice, everything settled into the right configuration and began bringing San Francisco a mean mess of good-time roots music."
-Mark S. Tucker - FAME - Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange

"New Faces"

"They present themselves as a homogeneous team which has explored new boundaries and made a stylistic niche into a whole entity. Rousing, lively, unpredictable and yet familiar." - Country Jukebox

"Brothers Comatose – Songs From The Stoop"

Translation from Babel Fish:
"Everyone whom traditional music a warm heart bears will appreciate these link automatically. These friends annexed family link played their roots floated music initially only on street angles, in house chambers and during nocturnal jam sessions. Enthusiastic responses did choose the men for more serious ambitions."

-Rein van den Berg (as translated by yahoo babel fish)

"The Brothers Comatose - CD Review"

“With an authentic sound and not one element of corporate tackiness in its DNA, albums like this should not go unnoticed by the general public” - Maverick Magazine

"RECORD REVIEW: The Brothers Comatose"

“Their authenticity comes from a combination of raw energy and musical talent that easily translates into a modern hoedown where no one is left behind...This isn't a band to just sit back and relax to. It's time to put away your suit and tie and break out your whiskey jug because the Brothers Comatose aren't going to take no for an answer." - Performer Magazine

"The Brothers Comatose - Songs from the Stoop"

“...The more I listen to the album the more I’m enjoying all the songs and the music... This album is just flat out filled with good, old time fun music!!” - No Depression

"Songs From the Stoop"

I'm betting that seeing this band perform live would add so much more to the music. I could definitely see myself settling in and thoroughly enjoying myself throughout the entire set. In short, if you like your Americana with acoustic and modern bluegrass music you will enjoy Songs from the Stoop. The Brothers Comatose show a lot of promise and I expect to hear from them in the future. - International Country Music Database

"The Alternate Root Artists of the Week"

The sound is mountain, the style is community, the results are infectious. “Down to the River” is a commitment in playing, singing and lyrical intentions. Like the narrator, The Brothers Comatose drown themselves in the delivery. “Legacy” has a gypsy feel to it, “Swamp Jam” bends and slides along like thick fog and opener “Trippin on Down’ is a bluegrass driven affair. “Church Street Blues” pays homage to The Brothers city of choice while reminiscing about homes of the past. They tackle and conquer a Rolling Stones track, “Dead Flowers”. The song begins with just a banjo and a voice and builds as friends take their stoop seats. East Coast, West Coast....’Songs From The Stoop’ proves that the only geography that matters if the one where muse and music hang out.
- The Alternate Root


The Brothers Comatose E.P. - Dec. '08
Songs From the Stoop (full-length debut) - Mar. '10
Respect The Van - May '12

Official showcase at SXSW '12

Bands we've shared the stage with:
Carolina Chocolate Drops, Devil Makes Three, Justin Townes Earle, Trampled by Turtles, Nicki Bluhm, John Doe & The Sadies, Pete Bernhard, Greensky Bluegrass and Pokey LaFarge.



Literal brothers, Alex (banjo and vocals) and Ben Morrison (guitar and vocals) of The Brothers Comatose grew up in a house that was known for its music parties. “The Morrison house was a gathering place for local musicians – everyone would bring an instrument, call out tunes, call out changes, and just play for hours” says Brothers Comatose bassist and Morrison music party goer, Gio Benedetti. “I learned more in that living room than in any class I ever took.” The brothers took this generous, inclusive and rowdy attitude and brought it to stages all over San Francisco. With the addition of members Philip Brezina (fiddle) and Ryan Avellone (mandolin) the string quintet brings their original string music and the feel of an intimate music party to audiences all across the United States.

The environment the band creates with their music and their live shows isn't the exclusive band vs. crowd world of rock and pop, but rather the sing-along, stomp-along, inclusive world that gave birth to string band music. The band – while playing festivals like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry, High Sierra, Outside Lands, Kate Wolf, and an official 2012 showcase at SXSW, - has not lost sight of their roots, their fans and the relationships that have brought them where they are.

Despite their name, the band is anything but Comatose. They toss alligators (inflatable) into the crowd, they hand out chopsticks for audience-percussion-participation, and are known to jump down and play acoustic encores in the middle of the crowd at the end of a set. It's just one, big, extended Morrison music party. Only now, the living room travels via Chevy G20 Conversion Van from state to state.

For more information about The Brothers Comatose, please visit