The Guthrie Brothers

The Guthrie Brothers

Produced by:Harvey Jay Goldberg Recorded at:Sound on Sound, Pilot Recording, New York, NY
next horizon


Their voices lace around each other like the double strands of DNA, so intricately connected that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. There’s something mesmerizing about the way brothers Jeb and Jock Guthrie play their gorgeous harmonies off each other on The Guthrie Brothers, their debut release on the independent Next Horizon imprint. They sound as if they’ve been singing together their whole lives, which, of course, they have.
Growing up in rural Wisconsin, they spent hours soaking up Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Santana, country music and Motown, plus everything else that came across the radio. And with their seamless sibling harmonies, one suspects they must have listened to some Everly Brothers along the way, too. For years, they played in a succession of little-known bands and explored everything from jazz to psychedelic rock. Finally, they realized something fundamental. Their strongest asset was the one that came most naturally. They formed a duo, struck out on their own and crafted a sound that puts their brotherly blend in the spotlight, right where it belongs. Two voices, two guitars, and hints of country, rock and pop form the heart of these eleven self-penned tunes – all inspired by their shared affection for classic 1970s singer-songwriters.
The album kicks off with “Call It A Day Tonight,” a surprisingly spirited portrait of a relationship’s final days. Sure, there’s a bittersweet tinge to the words, but in the end, it’s about resolutions, clean breaks and second chances. There’s a sense of finality and liberation, like that breakthrough moment when we know it’s time to move on. In contrast, the mid-tempo “Ride On Through” celebrates the comfort of rock-solid love waiting “at the end of the line.” With its catchy chorus, it sounds like it could have been a huge hit for the Eagles, with an impassioned Don Henley on lead vocals. “The Man That I Am” builds into a powerful ballad that proclaims the transformative power of love, while “The Night I Let You Slip Away” features some fine electric guitar work and a Beatlesque chorus with an unexpected melodic twist. “In The Eyes of My Dad” serves as a quiet nod to their father and the immutable values he embodies as a small-town doctor – values these brothers have taken to heart.
“Flesh And Blood” begins with a minor-key, soulful feel that then breaks open in the chorus, while the post-breakup ballad, “Cry Softly,” gives the brothers a chance to show off some of their best harmonies. An old-school blast of rock, “That’s For Her to Know,” finds the brothers buckled into the passenger seat as they wait to see where love will take them. The CD closes with “My Last Mistake,” filled with a driving energy that underscores its sense of regret. What makes this collection stand out is a pitch-perfect chemistry that takes years to refine. First, one brother will slip into a supporting role while the other lets loose with a soaring high note. Then, one will find a subtle shade of harmony that adds depth and color to the other’s melody line. It’s that kind of interplay, that kind of service to the song, that make this band of brothers such a satisfying find.

- Holly Crenshaw

Holly Crenshaw, a long-time staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writes frequently about music and the arts. 


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