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Reviewed by Red Rocker
Brothers Spencer and Jeff Cullum and Patrick Kenneally join founders Kurt Marschke, Masha, and E Travis Harrett following months of collaboration in London, making Deadstring Brothers Version 2007 a well-rounded, hard hitting six-piece, heavy on late 60s/early 70s riff rock a la the Faces and, obviously, the Stones. To see these guys (and gal) play live is to see their commitment to soul, Delta blues, and countrified rock in a mashing, straight-forward delivery that is pure Black Crowes.
Comparisons and influences aside, these new songs are boldly impressive. Kenneally’s B3 organ is a welcome and oh-so-natural complement to the first record’s formula. The loose boogie-woogie opener “Ain’t No Hidin’ Love” is a perfect case in point, featuring Masha Marijeh on lead vocal. Having graduated from a mere background role on Winter Report, Marijeh delivers big time on the first single “Meet Me Down at Heavy Load” (an ode to the London club where the “new” band met and reformed), as well as the scorching “Queen of the Scene,” yelling “Honey, honey, you’re such a fucking dream!” with a testosterone-packed punch that most men couldn’t throw. She even nails her best Janis Joplin impression in a shared vocal with Marschke on “Tennessee Sure Enough,” an all-hands-on-deck jam and one of the Mountain’s highlights.
The multi-instrumentalism and old school throwback sound is what sets this new lineup apart from not only the 2006 Brothers, but nearly any other band on the planet right now. They’re blues (“Rollin’ Blues”). They’re country (“You Look Like the Devil”). But they’re mostly cornfield rock and roll. It’s been years, if not decades, since a warm piano and slide guitar ballad like “If You Want Me To” commanded such attention on an otherwise gritty and ragged rock record. Neil Young, Gram Parsons, the Allman Brothers, Rod Stewart – these acts should all be mighty proud to find their legacy living and breathing 30-some years later. Detroit Rock City should be equally proud.