MUSIC BOX: Sibling Savoir-Faire

By on March 1, 2017

The Brothers Comatose and The Rainbow Girls play the Knotty Pine, Buffalo Ruckus roughs up the Mangy Moose.

The Brothers Comatose

JACKSON HOLE, WY – “We were so different then, fightin’ and yellin,’ couldn’t ever really get along until we starting singin’ and playin’ these songs,” brothers Ben and Alex Morrison sing on The Brothers Comatose tune “Brothers” from one of three 2016 releases, City Painted Gold.

The Morrisons are referring to a time of teen angst and an interest in much harder music than the Southwestern-tinged, rowdy stringband music they produce these days. The roots music foundation had always been in the background, literally, as their mother’s folk quartet would rehearse at the house, singing beautiful harmonies and hosting jam parties. At one of those parties, a banjo was serendipitously left behind and thus was the beginning of managing split personalities, musically speaking.

In addition to the full-length City Painted Gold, the San Francisco quintet released two EPs in 2016—The Covers EP: Vol. 2 and The Metal EP.

That’s right, this stringband released metal versions of its own songs.

What started as an innocent Kickstarter reward blossomed into a full-fledged, doomy, sludgy, stony, four-song release based on its early influences. Bassist Gio Benedetti did all of the arranging, played all of the instrument parts, and even programmed the drums. Philip Brezina (fiddle) and Ryan Avellone (mandolin) round out the band.

“Geo is a metal head and really into stoner rock,” Ben explained. “He was majorly responsible for The Metal EP and recorded the parts in the van while we were on tour. Three of us were in hard rock bands in the past, and we still love it. We just always came back to acoustic instruments sitting around the house out of a matter of convenience really.”

The Covers EP: Vol. 2, on the other hand, cherry picks the band’s span of influences in a four-song collection including the Ryan Adams/David Rawlings co-written “To Be Young (Is to be Sad, Is to be High),” Cake’s “Stickshifts and Safetybelts,” Hank Williams’s “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it,” and Huey Lewis’s “I Want a New Drug.” What struck this listener on just about all of the songs previewed for this piece is the air of authenticity. There are so many bands these days playing this rugged style of music, yet the chemistry is evident, the voices strong and harmonious, and the songs well crafted. As siblings, making a career singing and traveling down the road together came in singular forms.

“We have way different personalities,” Ben said of his approach to music compared to Alex’s. “He’s more of the scattered artist and though we have similar influences, he can pull ideas from the ether. I’m more of the organized, formulaic type I guess you’d say. We both sing from the gut, though, and neither of us went to school for music. We recently unearthed some VHS tapes of our mom’s folk quartet singing harmonies and were like, ‘Wow, they were really good, how do their voices make such a big sound?’ We learned by playing songs in the living room.”

Fellow Californians The Rainbow Girls, a trio of ladies that spent the last four years touring Europe and the U.S. as a rock band, will open the show. For this tour, they’ll get back to their folksy roots. The Brothers Comatose with The Rainbow Girls, 9 p.m. Thursday, March 2 at the Knotty Pine in Victor. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 day of show. 208-787-2866, KnottyPineSupperClub.com

The Rainbow Girls

Texas Buffalo stomp north

Coming to us from Denton, Texas, Buffalo Ruckus finds a gritty balance between Americana, Texas country, 70s soul, and Southern rock. The band quickly turned heads after winning both the 2014 Texas Music Showdown and the Shiner Rising Star Competition.

Textures of mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, drums and bass are organically crafted on its 2016 sophomore effort Peace & Cornbread, produced by Jonathan Tyler. If you haven’t journeyed out to the Mangy Moose for a night show in a while, here’s a worthy excuse.

Buffalo Ruckus, 9 p.m. to midnight Friday, March 3 at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village. $5. MangyMoose.com

Aaron Davis is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

WEDnesday

Vinyl Night (The Rose), The Bo & Joe Sexy Show (Town Square Tavern)

THURsday

The Brothers Comatose & The Rainbow Girls (Knotty Pine), Disco Night (Stagecoach)

FRIday

Buffalo Ruckus (Mangy Moose), Dusty Green Bones (Silver Dollar), Eminence Ensemble (Town Square Tavern)

SATurday

Martin Sexton (Knotty Pine), Hell’s Belles (Mangy Moose), One Ton Pig (Trap Bar)

SUNday

Songwriter’s Alley Open Mic featuring Ian Thomas & Wyatt Lowe (Silver Dollar), Major Zephyr & Isaac Hayden (Mangy Moose)

Monday

JH Hootenanny (Dornans)

TUESday

BOGDOG (Town Square Tavern), Maw Band & Ian McIver (Mangy Moose)

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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