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The Harmed Brothers (Fluff & Gravy, 2017)

The Harmed Brothers

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

Let's put it succinctly. The Harmed Brothers may be the best band no one has ever heard of. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. They do have their ardent admirers, so let's not discount their following entirely. Still, for those who are unaware, the band's new eponymous effort ought to make it clear that this is a group with a wealth of resources at their command. It's a sound that epitomizes the best elements of Americana, from reflection to revelry, all in the space of 10 excellent songs.

As is the band's habit, they waste no time in trumpeting their essential elements, even though the first track "Greetings from Mardi Gras," is the most mournful sounding song the album has to offer. Yet, like the best work of The Band, it boasts a resilience and resolve that leaves no doubt as to their credo and conviction. Likewise, when the rugged "Adopt a Highway" draws on inner emotion, the call to arms is all, but irresistible. The heartbroken confession of "A Lovely Conversation" ("I wish we never met") further affirms the band's willingness to accept hard truths and turn them into an instant anthem that leave hope and inspiration in their wake.

In a very real sense, "The Harmed Brothers" finds the band coming full circle. Four of the songs find them re-imagining tracks culled from their 2009 debut. Yet, it's a credit to their prowess that all 10 offerings find a seamless fit, while also leaving room for each of these compelling melodies to rise to the fore. An exceptional effort, it's further reason why The Harmed Brothers ought to ascend to the forward ranks of today's great Americana auteurs. A rare combination of drive and determination, it puts the Brothers' best front and center.

CDs by The Harmed Brothers

The Harmed Brothers, 2017 A Lovely Conversation, 2016 Better Days, 2013

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