REVIEW: Deadstring Brothers’ Cannery Row

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Close your eyes and envision this: members from Ryan Adams’ The Cardinals, Willie Nelson’s band, Whitey Morgan and the 78s, and Poco get together to make an album. You’re probably drooling by now, right? Now, open your eyes, grab your keys, and go out and buy Deadstring Brothers’ newest album, Cannery Row. You’re welcome.

From the very first track, “Like A California Wildfire”, frontman Kurt Marschke’s voice paired with some very alt-country instrumentals draw undeniable comparisons to the Rolling Stones circa Exile On Main Street. Yeah, heavy compliment, but this is one group that’s earned it – by the time you get to the album’s title track, you’re hooked. “Cannery Row” is a slow, mournful tune that reveals Ryan Adams backbone whilst keeping a very “Wild Horses”, Rolling Stones sound. The female vocals really make this track pop, though – they’re a much-needed calm before the fun, danceable, country storm that is “Lucille’s Honky Tonk”. Trust us, you’ll suddenly feel like you’re in a saloon in the old west as you move and step to “I can hear her when she sings, and the beauty that it brings. Yeah, we’re swinging down at Lucille’s Honky Tonk.”

As you approach the end of Cannery Row, you’ll be struck by how White Stripes-esque “Talkin’ To A Man In Montana” sounds instrumentally.  It’s the perfect hit of country rock as the female vocals return once again to add dimension to the song. The record ends with “Song For Bobbie Jo”, a measured yet complex ballad in which Marschke croons, “I’m comin’ home for good, I’m comin’ down like no one ever should,” before escalating to nearly yelling, “You know, there’s times when I might need a friend.”

Cannery Row shares its title with a 1945 John Steinbeck novel set in California. Why is this even relevant? Well, yes, the album and the novel are both reminiscent of a very country-influenced era and region. More notable, though, is that, like Steinbeck’s novel, this Deadstring Brothers masterpiece will be put down in the books as irrefutably timeless.

Kate Foster is a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated titles: writer. Blogger. Beauty and fashion junkie. Cat devotee. Art history buff. Harry Potter nerd. Cheesy 90's television fan. Sometimes-gamer. Seasonal sculptor. Mostly she’s a music enthusiast. While her heart and soul belong to 50's and 60's crooners like Etta James, Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley, one shouldn’t be surprised to find her listening to Lady Gaga or Jay-Z. Most days, though, she’s in an indie-punk mood somewhere in between - she counts the Pixies, the White Stripes, M83, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a few of her favorites. And while you’ll typically see her bobbing her head calmly at concerts, occasionally she pulls out all the stops for bands like the Black Lips. She treasures her bruises like a child. After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Art History, Kate aspires to move to New York City. There, she hopes to continue to write. She also plans on pretending to understand the art at MoMA and stuffing her face with cronuts and one dollar pizza. Kate’s heroes range from Oscar de la Renta and Mindy Kaling to Ernest Hemingway and Rupert Giles. She practically inhales iced coffee on a daily basis. Her favorite color is yellow, and like Buddy the Elf, she considers candy a major food group. She has dreams almost every night involving the coolest architecture and interior design, and has no idea what it means. Seriously, what does that mean?!

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