The Cumberland Brothers – Gamey EP (independent)
The Cumberland Brothers aren’t actually related, but they do a damn fine impression of siblings on their eight-track “Gamey” EP. The pair, Archie Pateman (The Breakmen) and Jack Roland (The Wave) specialize in harmony vocals and an old school country sound, which will surely remind older listeners of the Louvins and the Delmores, though fans of newer, more contemporary outfits like the Old Crow Medicine Show, Felice Brothers, The Low Anthem and Jim & Jennie & The Pinetops will find plenty to like; not least their enthusiasm and natural inbuilt energy, which fizzes through the songs, and supplies plenty of rootsy thrills.
Currently independent, in the truest sense of the word, it can only be a matter of time before an established label makes them an offer they can’t refuse and they turn up on a Bloodshot or a Loose. Perhaps then we’ll see them gracing UK stages, where I’m sure they’d go down a storm. Here, they begin with a classic train song “The Golden Rocket” - which rattles along in a most agreeable way, and “I Don't Want You (But I Can't Let You Go)” shifts with equal gumption. Throughout their voices are fantastic, whether singing lead or merging as one, and on “Johnny” they bring to mind the Grateful Dead’s country rock period, though the Dead never had vocalists as adept as this pair. All eight tracks are original compositions, and they repeatedly nail the sound and style they so obviously love. Impressive and enjoyable, from start to finish.