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Warren Brothers

King of Nothing – 2000 (BNA)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Warren Brothers

No doubt the Warren Brothers' tour slots with Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and others have garnered a fanbase among the contemporary country crowd. But the confidence and professionalism honed in such high-profile gigs hasn't rounded off the twang in their sound or the earnestness in their songwriting.

Their closest contemporaries might be the Delevantes - another brother act relocated to Nashville. But where The Delevantes draw more directly from the Everlys and write more poetically, the Warrens draw more from the earthier efforts of John Mellencamp and shade their lyrics with humor and irony. Their sound takes in everything from '70's artists like Jackson Browne and The Eagles to harmony pop acts like The Rembrandts (with whom they co-wrote this LPs "Move On."). Their songwriting shares the direct-from-life flavor of fellow Floridian, Ronnie Van Zant.

Most telling of the Warren's approach is the liner note that reads "The Warren Brothers live and recording band is..." In addition to writing their own songs, and providing the vocals and guitars, they actually record with the same troupe with whom they play night after night. Rob Stoney provides atmospheric keyboard support, including some whistling B-3, and Mike Holder adds the twang via pedal steel, dobro and lap steel. The result is a swinging cohesiveness unattainable by multitracked session aces.

Though the Warren's may not be the renegades suggested by their press, theircatchy, heartfelt tunes mark them as true Nashville subversives: hitching a ride on a contemporary wave to sew the seeds of wit and wisdom that blossom in their country rock tunes.