CD: 11 Songs; 40:00 Minutes
Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Electric Blues, Swing Blues
On the 1980’s parody show Not Necessarily the News, fake commercials were broadcast in between satirical segments. One of these featured a laundry detergent called “New”. A smiling woman listed all the benefits of this novel product, but then another smiling gal interrupted her: “Don’t buy New. It’s old already. Buy New New. It gets out all the dirt that New just can’t get out.” A third smiling lady interrupted the second, extolling the virtues of “New New New.” Get the picture? What is it about our American culture that turns exciting new things so old, so fast? Technology is partly to blame, but it’s not the only factor. Consider blues music: Up-and-coming younger musicians are confronted with a paradox. On the one hand, they want to sound “new”, in order to attract their Millennial peers. On the other hand, they also want to sound “old”, to be true to the roots of the genre, placate purists, and attract baby boomers and Gen X’ers. How to balance these two styles of blues so that the most people will be pleased at the same time?
Enter Texas brothers Glenn and Alex Peterson, presenting their self-titled debut album. Even though there are a few overplayed covers on it (“Amazing Grace”, “If You Love Me Like You Say”, and “I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog The Way You Treated Me”), that’s a small price to pay for forty minutes of classic blues that sounds just as new as anything Kanye West might release. Their vocal talent, keen musicianship, and sharp songwriting skills should put their first CD on radio playlists worldwide. The Peterson Brothers are a bridge between novelty and tradition.
On eleven terrific tracks, five originals and six covers, they bring their musical “A-game”. Tracks six and eleven are the same song in, alternately, shuffle and swing styles. The Peterson Brothers’ band consists of Glenn Peterson, Jr. on lead vocals and guitar, Alex Peterson on vocals, bass guitar and violin, Brady Blane on drums, and James Pace on keyboards.
The following fresh compositions combine the best of “old” and “new” blues:
Track 03: “Hey Baby” – The title may be vague, but track three hits the spot when it comes to jazzy swing blues. “Hey, now, baby, what you do to our love? You make me think our love ain’t love at all,” Glenn croons with a touch of flat annoyance. James Pace kills it on keyboards. Yow!
Tracks 06 and 11: “I Gotta Go” – Which version of this traditional-sounding ballad is better? Flip a coin, because they’re both great. “The way you used to treat me was oh-so-sweet, but the way you treat me now, it just ain’t neat.” For our narrator, that means it’s time to beat feet. Speaking of feet, crowds will leap to theirs and find partners, especially at live performances.
For their second CD, this reviewer’s humble suggestion would be to include lots more original material. The Peterson Brothers are incredible right off the bat, and need not rely on covers!