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Born and bred in a city hardly known for its country music heritage, Detroit's Deadstring Brothers play alternative country-rock with no small amount of rock & roll swagger and a deep bluesy undertow that often suggests Exile on Main St.-era Rolling Stones more than Uncle Tupelo or their followers. The Deadstring Brothers formed in late 2001, when singer and songwriter Kurt Marschke, who had been playing shows as a solo acoustic act, began working up material with a handful of likeminded friends. The band wasted no time earning a reputation for its tough but soulful sound, and on September 9, 2003, the group released its self-titled debut through Detroit's Times Beach Records. On the disc, Marschke was joined by Peter Ballard (Dobro, pedal steel), Phil Durr (guitar), Eric Hoegemeyer (tambourine), Aric Karpinski (organ, piano), William King (percussion, drums), Philip Skarich (bass, guitar, percussion), and Ross Westerbur (strings, chamberlin), with background vocals by Skarich, Robert Burrows, Masha Marjieh, Mimi Marjieh, and Loura Rock. Plenty of touring followed, with the Deadstring Brothers sharing stages with Cat Power, the Sadies, the Drive-By Truckers, and My Morning Jacket. In 2005, the band signed with Chicago's premier alt-country label, Bloodshot Records. Bloodshot licensed their second long-player, Starving Winter Report, to Evangeline Records for release in England, where it actually appeared prior to its domestic release, on October 3, 2005, the American issue coming on February 21, 2006. The musicians performing on the album were Marschke, Hoegemeyer, Skarich, Westerbur, Masha Marjieh, Rayse Biggs (trumpet), Edward Gooch (trombone), and David Mosher (fiddle). More touring followed, and the band's personnel continued to evolve, in particular with the infusion of several British members. As of the release of the Deadstring Brothers' third album, Silver Mountain, on October 9, 2007, the group was a sextet consisting of Marschke, Masha Marjieh, drummer E. Travis Harrett, and U.K. recruits Spencer Cullum on guitar, pedal steel, and lap steel, his older brother Jeff Cullum on bass, and Pat Kenneally on keyboards. São Paulo followed three years later in 2010. After relocating from Detroit to Nashville, the band released the just slightly more country-based Cannery Row in the spring of 213. ~ Mark Deming & William Ruhlmann