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Album Review

Brass Kings, The – “Brass Kings, The ” – [Dream Horse Records]

Jawbone   12/17/2007   CD, Country

Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings are a Country Blues Americana minimalist trio, featuring resonator guitar, washboard and washtub bass. All that???s missing is the laundry soap. Seriously though, released in 2006, this is first full length from the Minneapolis, Minnesota trio. It starts out with a serviceable version of ???Muleskinner Blues??? that picks up steam as it goes. Luckily, Kaul doesn???t attempt a yodel with his dark, growling voice.

???Rural Methlab Blues??? (track 2) brings an interesting perspective to cooking crank. An educated loser and his aimless girlfriend catch word that the law is on its way to their little hideaway, so they decide to blow the shack sky high on their way out.

There???s a couple of nice instrumentals (tracks 4 & 13) and a lot of dark, brooding songs about the American experience. The sound is akin to Kevin Welch and the stories are along the lines of James McMurtry???s, but Kaul doesn???t quite have the talent of those two gentlemen. He does, however, add some Middle Eastern flourishes to the music, which gives the trio a unique sound. Not to mention that washtub bass, washboard and resonator guitar is not a very common lineup these days, either.

–Jawbone

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