Patuxent CD-336 The Mosley Brothers
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The Mosley Brothers
From the opening notes to the last phrases of this wide-ranging, inventive production by The Mosley Brothers, you will hear a sophisticated fusion of storied bluegrass – instruments, harmonies, themes – with a modern, melodic mix of images and lyrics outside the traditional box. Their band is an awesome foursome, consisting of brothers Jacob on mandolin and Joey on guitar, both contributing strong, soulful vocals and song-writing collaboration, joined by Pennsylvanians Dean Phillips on banjo and Johnny Calamari on bass and vocals.
“Black Shiny Stone” is the opener, a coal miner’s lament written by local talent Jerry Leitner, featuring authoritative banjo, nimble mandolin and rolling guitar licks. Joey composed “Brushy Mountain,” a wild instrumental. Jacob’s “Carry Me,” expressing the bond between brothers, brings in several outstanding sidemen - Rob Benzing on banjo, Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, Mark Schatz on bass and Danny Kniceley boosting the vocal mix.
“Exactly What I Need,” created especially for the Mosleys by well-known songwriter Harold Tipton, blends memorable instrumental virtuosity with a great vocal mix and an outstanding sign-off. “Kiss Me Like You Did Yesterday” is a solid Mosley Brothers tribute to another pair of musical brothers, the Louvins. Another Louvins favorite, “My Baby’s Gone,” is offered with intense feeling, aided by the sweetly moaning fiddle of Michael Cleveland, who also jumps in and out of Jacob’s instrumental, “Foxtail” with about every wail that a fiddle bow can muster. Joey wrote “Grasping for the Wind” with lovelorn lyrics and a mournful melody that recalls older modalities woven into a timeless tale of regret.
“Who Showed Who,” another Harold Tipton creation first recorded by Del McCoury, is a stark, hard-hitting murder/revenge saga voicing sympathy for the ones left behind. Jacob’s aching “Prisoner of the Pines” follows it, with Dean’s ingenious banjo “raindrops” setting the somber mood. Johnny’s bass thrum starts and segues energetically into Del McCoury’s “Rain and Snow,” given an innovative treatment here. The final number, Leitner’s “Blues Are Just Outside My Door” makes room for all four band members to showcase their lightning fast instrumental moves.
The Mosley Brothers (www.themosleybrothers.com) grew up on standard, old-style bluegrass, preserving that heart-and-gut-wrenching sound and enhancing it with a new concoction of tasteful instrumental and vocal vibrations.
Barbara Bamberger Scott