Well. Gonna be a bit of a homer today. Normally I avoid covering local bands for fear of accusations of bias, which of course is silly, since we're completely biased in terms of the music we post. We've got...opinions.
So The Black Oil Brothers command our complete attention.
From their website:
"Before the blues found its way to Chicago and redefined itself with electric guitars and drummers, bluesmen were minstrels playing juke joints in the Mississippi Delta armed only with their guitars and voices while the crowd kept the rhythm by stomping their feet in time. Born and raised in Chicago, The Black Oil Brothers aim to channel that kind of boot stompin' blues that doesn’t need a backline or distortion pedals to make it cook. Resonators played with steel slides, wailing harmonicas, 3 part harmonies and the righteous twang of acoustic guitars and mandolin strings define our music (and very well may be saving our souls at the same time). Let us save yours."
As ever, we ask the question: Why Should You Care?
Well, you should care because the Black Oil Brothers create an amalgam of Country and Blues not beholden to contemporary "alt" whatever, forging their sound from a deeper well, stripping away the trappings of contemporary naval-gazing to find a purer sound. Strapped to the concrete acreage of the big, big city, the Black Oil Brothers find the wide open spaces of beyond, and the smallness of life lived in overgrown yards and back porches lit by fireflies.
Regret and bad choices made in the midnight hour, then. The kind of Country Blues record we love so dearly.
On their new record, Long Way From The Delta (scroll down for album link), the Black Oil Brothers pile us into the pickup truck and take us down the road a fur piece to the end of the line, literally and figuratively. On "Going For Broke", we get a loose-string laden chugging meditation on love and loss. "Robert From Hibbing" (our favorite tune) is a classic drinking song that posits the relationship between the aspiring songwriter and the immortal bard, Robert Zimmerman, and features the classic lines, "I want to be Bob Dylan/But I play the guitar wrong/So I guess I won't be singing her this song". And "Wednesday Afternoon" is a gloriously muted, mandolin-driven hoedown that's guaranteed to find you on the rare mid-week day off, feet kicked up, beverage of choice gripped in hand, singing lustily to the sky.
If you're in the Chicago area at the end of June, be sure to check out the band for their record release party at Quenchers on June 26th. We'll be there.
The Black Oil Brothers: Going For Broke (mp3)
The Black Oil Brothers: Robert From Hibbing (mp3)
The Black Oil Brothers: Wednesday Afternoon (mp3)
Please support your local, independent, string shucking Country/Blues band.