The Dickel Brothers

The Recordings of the Dickel Brothers, Vol. 2

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The Dickel Brothers are in love with old-time music, specifically the string band era. It's not only there in the music, but even the album cover, which replicates the design of the old Country label in almost every detail. It's interesting that their album should appear on Empty, which has a reputation for punk albums -- but then again, their music and presentation have all the forthrightness and attitude of punk, and let you see that there's really nothing new under the sun. With fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, and untrained voices, they attack old songs like the Carter Family's "Rambling Boy" or Charlie Poole's "The Highway Man" (an adaptation of "Gallows Pole") with plenty of fervor and a fair amount of skill, making this an enjoyable outing that connects the dots between past and present in an oblique way. More importantly, it makes the listener realize that the string band tradition is as relevant to music now as it was in its heyday, and that the songs (even the originals fit in with the old spirit) still have plenty of verve. A triumph of both style and substance.

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