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Middle Brother

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 1, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Middle Brother is:
John McCauley (Deer Tick)
Matthew Vasquez (Delta Spirit)
Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes)

The lead singers of Deer Tick, Dawes, and Delta Spirit now come together to form the groundbreaking musical project, Middle Brother. McCauley, Goldsmith, Vasquez - three songwriters with an amazing sense of purpose, balancing themes of their own playful self-indulgence with humbler notes of heartbreak and hope. Alt-country folk mixed with soulful rock n roll. Middle Brother is the master collaborative event finally risen out of the roots of their genre; a moment we ve been waiting for.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Partisan Records
  • ASIN: B004FS2SHG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,079 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. C. Casey on March 7, 2011
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Three songwriters at the top of their game have teamed up here to produce an album of timeless tunes --- Great lyrical pieces wrapped around a solid American musical foundation of blues, country, folk, and rock. John McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit are the voices of this album, from three bands traveling the same under-the-radar road of straight-forward, no indulgences music, which stands on its classic songwriting rather than on a gimmicky hip-for-the-moment sound. These songs will always work. McCauley lends his rough and tumble, life-beaten voice and words, Goldsmith brings heartfelt ballads and stirring harmonies, and Vasquez, who I was less familiar with, is an enormous vocal presence, with a voice that has tinges of rock n' roll John Lennon and songs that are easily the most catchy on the record.

The great thing about this album is that, if you've never heard of any of these three bands, you'll most likely come away from your first listen with three new bands to check out (I can vouch for the back catalogs of Dawes and Deer Tick, which are well worth your time. I'll be checking out Delta Spirit soon!). If you're already a fan of these bands, you won't be disappointed with this collection. Some of their finest work can be found here. It's especially great to hear them each take a verse on the closer, "Million Dollar Bill".

The live show (particularly Dawes) is outstanding and very much recommended as well!
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Format: Audio CD
I got this CD first because I'm a big Deer Tick fan, and all the songs with John McCauley on the lead vocal -- "Me, Me, Me," "Daydreaming," "Middle Brother" and "Mom and Dad," I took an immediate liking too. The songs with Taylor Goldsmith on lead -- like "Blood and Guts" and "Wilderness" -- are much slower tempo and more solemn than John's usually upbeat stuff, but they grew on me very quickly. ("Daydreaming" is the one slow-tempo McCauley song. When my wife and I first had that one at a Deer Tick concert in October of last year, it immediately blew both of us away -- it's a beautiful, beautiful song.) I did have a little more exposure to Delta Spirit than I did with Dawes before getting this, so the quality of Matt Vasquez tunes were a little less of suprise to me -- "Blue Eyes" is rocking fun, and "Theater" is more contemplative in the way the Goldsmith songs are, and both songs are excellent. The one song in which they all share lead vocals, a la the Highwaymen, "Million Dollar Bill" is a standout, with some very clever lyrics about how each of them could stay in the lives of the women who spurned them while she's off dating other, richer men. Their live show in Boston -- with Dawes and Deer Tick as the opening acts -- was a real treat. (I'm building up my Dawes & Delta Spirit collection now, as a result of this album.) They also do a cover of The Replacements song "Portland" on the album, and their version is terrific.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am not one to write a lot of reviews. I only do so when compelled by the product.
This is one of those!
Beautiful music that is reminiscent of early James Taylor, Jack Johnson and the Beatles.
The lyrics are so well thought of... and they really pull on some heart strings.
This album for me has a Deja Vu quality that makes it very special. This inspite of the fact that I had never heard any of the group members before. Inspite of the fact that I purchased this album on an impulse and a whim after listening to their one song on npr.

Highly recommended. 5 stars dont do them justice!!
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I read a short review about this band in a magazine and thought nothing of it. However, when I opened up my Amazon page, I saw that it was a deal as part of the cloud player promotion so I splurged. I am so happy I bought this album. Lyrically this is just a fantastic album. It forces me to listen closely as there are many humorous, sometimes slightly dirty lyrics which make me smile. The music itself is simply soothing. The sound throughout is pretty consistent but it makes it flow so quickly that you can't help but listen to it again. It is kind of folky, kind of country, but overall excellent. I would definitely recommend it and now that I know how good it is, I may even pay full price!
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Format: Audio CD
The range and breadth of this album is quite remarkable for a mostly straight ahead folk rock record. A more fully realized and visceral effort than The Monsters of Folk experiment. There's some Gram Parsons here ("Middle Brother"), as well as other great ghostly voices culled from the grave (try John Lennon, "Theater"; or Crosby, Stills and Nash, "Million Dollar Bill"), and you'll swear "Someday" (Janis Joplin?) is a long lost soul cut from the Jerry Wexler archives. The arrangements are so simple they're almost forgettable, but that leaves even more room for the salt-dusty-grain of John J. McCauley III's soulful voice. He's a could sing the phonebook kind of singer. But his voice is closer to the folk origins and characters alluded to in Greil Marcus' "The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes." It's a voice like that of Howlin' Wolf, who Sam Phillips describe as the place "where the soul of man, never dies." If you need further proof, then digest the timeless version of "Goodnight Irene" from Deer Tick's "Born on Flag Day." Taylor Goldsmith's plaintive approach and thoughtful songwriting provide a nice balance (see "Thanks for Nothing" or "Wilderness") and sprinkles a bit of grain himself reminiscent of Elvis Costello. The harmonies recall The Avett Brother's at their best.
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