The North Carolina-based Malpass Brothers' passion for the classic country of past decades is nicely displayed on their latest self-titled release. Christopher and Taylor Malpass are most effective when they tackle brotherly harmonies as with covers of the Wilburn Brothers' "Which One Is To Blame" and the Louvin Brothers' "Satan and the Saint," as well as the original tale of unrequited love "I Found Someone to Love."
Christopher supplies the strongest lead vocals as on the Malpass' other original "Learn to Love Me Too," a ballad with touches of Merle Haggard and Gene Watson that deals with self doubt ("I wish I could be happy all the time/And happy with the choices I've made in my mind"), but has a hopeful outlook ("While other hearts said I'm like a sailor lost at sea/I'm praying you're the lifeboat that's come to rescue me"). Another standout is the cover of "Begging To You" on which Christopher is up to the task of emulating Marty Robbins' vocal range. Robbins' influence is evident as well on the Pete Goble composition "Here In Alberta I'll Stay," which also recalls the work of Ian Tyson.
Other highlights are the Jerry Lee Lewis rockabilly classic "It'll Be Me" delivered here by Christopher with a vocal that sounds more like Carl Perkins, and a pair of Hank Williams covers "Baby, We're Really In Love" and "I Just Don't Like This Kind Of Livin'" on which the vocals sound more like a young Hank Jr.
Produced by bluegrass luminary Doyle Lawson, the instrumentation is solid throughout, particularly with Taylor (electric guitar and mandolin), David Johnson (steel guitar) and Jeff Collins (keyboards). Though the stated goal of Christopher Malpass "to see this music revived" may not be achieved, the authentic quality of this effort will appeal to fans of traditional country.