Joe, Marc's Brother

The Pennsylvania Sessions

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AllMusic Review by Mark Vanderhoff

Recorded in 1993, Joe, Marc's Brother's The Pennsylvania Sessions was not available until 2001, and predates the band itself. The Pisapia brothers actually recorded the album three years before forming Joe, Marc's Brother. There are no immediately apparent reasons for the delay of the release, since it is a much stronger effort than The Debut of Joe, Marc's Brother and the Autumnninetyeight EP. The songs are hook-filled roots rock with healthy doses of twangy guitar and a few melancholy acoustic ballads thrown in to keep things interesting. Listening to the albums chronologically by recording date, it sounds as if the group took a few steps back after making The Pennsylvania Sessions and didn't top it artistically until their 2000 release, Around the Year With Joe, Marc's Brother. Interestingly, these two releases were made with the fewest amount of band members, The Pennsylvania Sessions as a duo and Around the Year as a trio. Their other releases featured an additional guitarist and a different bassist; evidently it just took a while for the brothers to figure out that they work best without too many players cluttering up the mix. As it stands, the album is more than just an interesting academic look into the band's beginnings; it is a solid piece that outshines most of the band's early work. Whatever the reasons for the delay, fans should be happy that the album has finally seen the light of day.

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