Album Review: The Talbott Brothers – Gray

The first thing that strikes me about The Talbott Brothers is their genuine artistry. You get the sense that they really love what they’re doing and would be singing even if we weren’t listening. I love that. But imagine a few other pairs of brothers, like Bo and Bear Rinehart or Scott and Seth Avett. Exactly what you love about those guys, you’ll love about Nick and Tyler Talbott.

The opening “We Got Love” is full of bright energy that you’re sure to enjoy. The harmonies are top notch. It sounds like two voices made for each other. The whole sound is optimistic and hopeful. It’s the kind of pop folk sound that helped to motivate the very founding of this site, so of course we love it.

The second track “Deadman Pass” is a bit darker with some blues overtones for sure, but keeps the tight harmonies that are the identity of the group. It’s a superb sound that really draws the listener in. The biblical “dust we me, to dust we shall return” concept is really helpful for reminding us of our mortality, all while enjoying the thoughtful overall sound of really good instrumentalism.

“Down the Line” has some really satisfying guitar work in the opening. Not to keep name dropping Needtobreathe, but it’s a really natural comparison. There’s a positivity to their message that really resonates in a similar way. The vision of the song is much more “ultimate” than typical country or even folk music. This is a cool “it’s all gonna be alright” kind of optimism about being a light for people.

The harmony and mandolin on “Love Again” make it one of my favorite tracks on the whole album. The acapella break in the track really works. The hand clappy, driving rhythm is such an awesome sound. I am looking forward to hearing this one live some day. I’ll enjoy shouting, “we are searching for something in every little belonging” with the guys.

The track “The Coming Days” has a nice full guitar sound to it, superbly mixed. It’s not an easy feat to sing the way these guys can and have such an exciting sound overall. Another comparative band might be Green River Ordinance. It’s again that full harmony meets energetic country flavor. Although the lyrics sound like they’re about a couple, I do wonder if it might have some larger spiritual implications. Maybe some day I’ll get an interview opportunity to ask them!

The moving track “Dreamin'” is a real rambler track. The song shows off some of the best guitar playing on the entire album, with some clear blues chops. It’s the kind of song that shows off their south… wait, what? They’re from Portland? Wow! Southern rock via the Pacific Northwest! Behold the power of Americana! It’s what dreams are made of.

Both “Young” and “Traveler” seem to communicate a sort of contemplative wisdom. “Young” really cultivates a patience that can only come with living carefully. The guitar work on “Traveler” is some of my favorite on the album (okay, what’s that like the third time I’ve said that? I like it!). It’s hard to decide if it’s the BEST song on the album, but it’s a fighter. There’s a real question about personal identity. Who am I and what am I doing here? Not much better than some existential Americana.

The final two tracks “Don’t Let Me Go” and “American Dream” are both timeless sounds. The prior of course being a cry for togetherness and unity, abstract and relatable as much about humanity as it is a specific relationship or connection. The latter providing a vision for a better nation. There’s a healthy dose of nostalgia combined with hope, “baby this is our time to realize our American dream.”

If there wasn’t already a name of a genre called Americana, we’d have to invent it for these guys. The Talbott Brothers have put together an impressive collection of great songs here. Fans of Needtobreathe and Green River Ordinance simply MUST listen to this record. They made a fan out of me and I can’t wait to catch these energetic, talented, thoughtful musicians live.

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