Album Review

Shawn Braley

When hope is found on The Brothers and the Sisters debut, it shines through as the rays of sunlight peek through the blinds on a window.

There are few things sadder than a man’s only friend being his drug dealer, but this is exactly what Jeremy Pinnell sings on his bands, The Brothers and The Sisters, 7 track Self-Titled debut. “If the dope house is burning I’m going in/ I’m feeling old and I’m wearing thin/ And the dope boy is my only friend/ if the dope house is burning I’m going in” Pinnell sings gruffly with the beautiful backing vocals of Evangeline Bauerle, who accompanies him on every track. The charm of the record lies in Pinnell’s ability to craft songs that are incredibly hopeless sounding without being overly sad or dramatic. Each song simply flows into the next song, much like the moments in life. The differentiation of each song can be comparable to that of a life lived and while not regretted still lived with apologies to friends as Pinnell serenades on “Black Angel”; “I’m sorry to my friends/I don’t know where to begin/ I’m sorry for the lies I told/I’m sorry for the love I stole”. It’s obvious Pinnell is aware he isn’t perfect, and that imperfection pervades “The Brothers And The Sisters” with conviction.

The 7 member band adds slight touches here and there, with Matt Ayers on drums keeping things steady, while not getting in the way. Ayers has a bounciness to his playing not often found in country/folk music. His slight touches; from an extra snare hit to the dexterity he gives the rest of the band to add their style. Cody French’s banjo is soft, sweet and melancholic, while Anthony Pero and Ben Franks guitar and resonator guitar add depth to each note Pinnell sings. Lastly, Tyler Lockard seems to hold the entire thing together with the upright bass. Lockard allows the bass to bellow and roll with the punches of each melodic twist and turn without taking away each songs slow, soft and steady pace.

Pinnell could be a modern day Johnny Cash if he had more personality in his songs, but this isn’t about every step he takes. It seems each song burrows deeper and deeper into Pinnell’s insecurities as he sings of past mistakes and future fears. He often does so with little hint of regret. When hope is found on The Brothers and the Sisters debut, it shines through as the rays of sunlight peek through the blinds on a window, each ray bright and resonant while inside this dark and dusty room.

If this record is any sort of indicator of the things to come, I am fearful yet excited for the demons Pinnell and Co. are going to be exorcizing on their next album.