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H.O.B.

Best of both worlds

| November 14, 2011 | 0 Comments

A critic’s darling and commercial juggernaut. Classic and forward-thinking. A virgin and a whore. We crave these combinations; The Barr Brothers and Garland Jeffreys try to provide them.

It didn’t start this way, but nowadays if you’re going to include the word “brother” in your moniker you pretty much need to sound rootsy. The Barr Brothers — knowing that being rootsy is far preferable to the fates of non-“Brother” qualified brother acts like Oasis — have decided to toy with the notion of blood-on-blood harmony. Their self-titled, Secret City debut can hush, ramble, pick-n-grin, and load up on all sorts of elements like pump organ, dulcimer, and vibes. But it can also be a cantankerous sumunabich, one that finds the guitar solo on “Deacon’s Son” damned unsure if following the cloth means it can’t speak out every now and again. Not that they don’t know when to shut up when the time comes. (Wednesday@Schubas with Priory; Thursday@Apple Store on North Ave.)

Garland Jeffreys dovetails nicely into our theme with an album called The King Of In Between (Luna Park), which conveniently sports a cover shot of the intersections of some Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X boulevards (the location is unspecified though does recur throughout the U.S.). The juxtapositions therein aren’t quite so dichotomous, which might partly be attributable to the veteran Jeffreys winding down over the years and blending his styles. There’s an unmistakable ode to Otis Redding in how his buckets of grit refine themselves into hopeful nuggets, but the duality of Jeffreys is how he takes things that are so old and puts their truths in front of you today. (Friday@FitzGerald’s with Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra.)

— Steve Forstneger

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