Sometimes it suddenly dawns on you - many times straight out of the clear blue -- that the best recorded music simply sounds natural and nearly inevitable. In contrast, if it comes off overly labored and overwrought, it can arrive strangely forced and unwelcome. Joel and Scott Owens, the brotherly duo under the name PawnShop Kings, have - as natural as rain - created the appropriately titled "Give Love, Vol. 1." It's one unpretentious collection of love-giving songs.
These siblings are also strongly Christian. You may not notice this factor straight off, though, because nothing on this release is as overtly religious as "Love Like Jesus," from the pair's prior effort. However, it's impossible to miss the comparison and contrast between the earthly, physical sense of home, and the spiritual life hereafter expressed via "Coming Home." The EP's title track also speaks to how, what the world needs now is love, sweet love. Christians have oftentimes been characterized as the 'bad guys' for seemingly standing on the 'wrong side of history' due to their steadfast positions on certain current prickly social issues. PawnShop Kings remind everybody, whether religious or not, that we all badly need sincere love more than anything else.
PawnShop Kings music is as folk-y and gospel-y, as it is country. However, the steel guitar driven "Sound of Your Name" reveals the act's firm grasp on traditional romantic country sounds. With another 'name' titled song, one called "Call My Name," these two turn to driving gospel-rock sounds, which sound a little like "Joshua Tree" era U2, to help make their lyrical points.
When you listen to music this organic, it makes you wonder why it sometimes seems so rare and special. But instead of overthinking the how and why of it all, maybe it's just best to experience how consistently PawnShop Kings give musical love.