The Gage Brothers “The Gage Brothers” (Independent 2017)

Here is a new Bluegrass band of great note. The Gage Brothers are brothers, Ben (harmonica, Cajon beat box) and Zach (lead vocal and guitar), now with Brendan O’Malley (mandolin) and Chris Volpe (banjo and pedal steel). The album was recorded in Cleveland where it was produced by Jim Stewart. These four musicians work together in a special way. The first track beds that thought. A confident and short a capella introduction, “Feed my desires with all you are.” It’s all here: banjo, mandolin, harmonica, with an infectious rhythm.  

Throughout there is rich variety, memorable, “come back to” lyrics, stylistic bluegrass music, in different guises. “Teaching Myself the Blues” for instance is a blues number, one of two tracks sung by Ben, with lyrics that pour their heart out to: working the line, whiskey and losing money at the Cincinnati Track where “Sure thing, Lightning came in second to Thunder’s hooves and mane.”

All life is covered here: leaving town, drinking, falling in and out of love, life, loss and realisation, carried purposefully by the music. In My Baby for instance, “She don’t love me anymore, but by this time tomorrow, I’ll be gone.” The music carries the positivity. Listen to Caged, Ben’s other track. “Sing for me bird;” the meaning is powerful, as is the playing on all tracks. This is a special love song with the image of the canary singing underground, keeping alive the hope of a safe return to the surface of the mine and the true love there. Like the whole record, it’s special and memorable.

Author: Dave Clarke

I have always loved Americana music, even before it had a name. I've been a teacher (secondary and tertiary) all my professional life.

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