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Starving Winter Report

Deadstring Brothers

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Album Review

It's difficult, if not impossible, to listen to Detroit's Deadstring Brothers and not flash back to Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main St.-era Rolling Stones. Lead singer/songwriter Kurt Marschke and harmony vocalist Masha Marjieh (who also plays a mean maracas and tambourine) have perfected their version of Jagger/Richards '70s sound. Which isn't to infer they are a second-rate Stones cover band. Rather the Deadstring Brothers find heat in the country that so invigorated the Stones during that period. It's a raucous combination of Gram Parsons and the Band (right down to a nifty version of Robbie Robertson's "Get Up Jake," a cool find and the disc's only cover) that provides the groove. The sound of Highway 61 Dylan also informs tracks such as "Talkin' Born Blues," whose pounding piano, slide guitar, and organ, along with Marschke's spitfire vocals, make the Bob connection inevitable. The unrelated Brothers bring their own energy to this sound, though, and the nine original songs that dominate the disc have a loose yet structured feel that transform good songs into great ones. The ballad "Blindfolded" has the same tensile, bubbling-under energy, especially when the pedal steel guitar glides in, that propelled "Wild Horses." Ross Westerbur's sympathetic keyboards emphasize both the honky tonk and rock, and help find the balance that makes this "country-rock" in the best sense of the often diluted genre. Each track is well performed, but Starving Winter Report works best as a cohesive album with every song building upon the last to yield a disc that is more than the sum of its impressive parts.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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....
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Starving Winter Report, Deadstring Brothers
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