THE MALPASS BROTHERS
The Malpass Brothers.
A Death In The Family - Which One Is To Blame - It'll Be Me - Learn To Love Me Too - Hello Walls - Begging To You - Here in Alberta I'll Stay - I Met A Friend Of Yours Today - Baby, We're Really In Love - I Found Someone To Love - I Just Don't Like This Kind of Livin' - Satan and the Saint
As the President of the National Traditional Country Music Association, for the past 42 years, I reckon I've been reviewing 'real' country music CD's for something like at least 40 years or more, mostly here in the upper Midwest. I do it for the pure joy of hearing some great music, with just about everything coming out of Nashville today very un-country. Many of the CD's I review come from the hinter lands, way out in rural America. It's where 'real' country still survives these days. The hardest part of that is there are so few really good artists. Then, out of the blue, I get a CD by a couple of young brothers called the Malpass Brothers. WOW, what a treat to the ears of someone who actually loves 'real' country music. These brothers from North Carolina are much more than the typical "breath of fresh air." They are the epitome of what 'real' country is. They are the resurrection of the Louvin Brothers, or the Jim & Jesse of re-engerized 'real' country music. Astonishingly amazing is the only way I can describe this incredibly gifted duo. They aren't the run of the mill artist that tries to do everything in music, but only comes up with hardly anything. These boys have done it right, soaking up the music of their North Carolina granddad's old 78rpm recordings, ever since they were boys. Their entire 'gut' is what country music is, should be, and isn't these days. This sibling talent might very well be the only thing standing between 'real' country music and the 'pop-rap' we are handed, called country music. They utilize everything they've been exposed to as youngsters. Everything from outstanding vocals, including what a 'yodel' might sound like in 'real' country music today. Try their excellent "Begging To You" one of Marty Robbins songs. They open this CD with one of my favorite 'real' country music songwriters and friend, Bill Anderson. If you aren't hooked with "A Death In The Family" from the very beginning, you probably aren't aware of what 'real' country music sounds like, but you'll be hooked anyway. I not only love the way the lead vocal is out front, not hidden in the mix like so much so-called country today, I love the way the musicians KNOW they are doing the real deal, and how they are enjoying every single second of it. Both the Malpass boys do lead vocals, and like the Everly Brothers who made their first successful adventure with country music right here in Iowa, the Malpass Brothers bring it full scale, back to us again. Jeff Collins on piano and keyboard (really really nice); David Johnson on steel guitar, acoustic guitar and fiddle (really really nice); Tim Surrett on acoustic bass (the real deal bass sound done really really nice); Tony Creasman on drums (really really nice to hear music without this instrument being the lead instrument.). Van Atkins of Crossroads Studios in Arden, North Carolina, did the mixing and mastering, most excellently done under the careful ear of producer Doyle Lawson who not only knows what bluegrass music is, he REALLY knows what 'real' country music sounds like. What a beautiful day it is for me today. And the closing song. How can it get any better than with this Louvin Brothers song "Satan And The Saint." What a beautiful listening experience. Since I have a close connection to the Rural Roots Music Commission who select some of their CD of the Year awards from many of the CD's that I forward to them, I can't wait to hear their reaction to this incredibly good 'real' country CD. If I was a Malpass Brother I'd be looking forward to a CD of the Year award. From probably the most 'rural' of any of America's states these days.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President of the National Traditional Country Music Association, in Iowa for Country Music News International