The somewhat cumbersome choice of name is thankfully not reflected in The Brother Brothers music found on Tugboats, the debut recording by the Brooklyn-based identical Illinois twins Adam and David Moss. Although they’ve made music separately, fiddler and banjo picker Adam playing with the likes of Session Americana and Anais Mitchell and David, a classical cello graduate, releasing a couple of solo albums to which his brother contributed, this is surprisingly the first time they’ve worked together professionally as a duo.
It’s a six-track affair, five of which are individually self-penned, the other being the traditional Columbus Stockade Blues arranged for a subdued, moody acoustic guitar fingerpicked rhythm and a splash of mournful fiddle.
Here, as elsewhere, their harmonies are terrific, opening to the slow fiddle waltzing strains of the title track, evoking instant thoughts of the Everlys in their folk-country mode, picking up the tempo with the bustling vocals of Bird In A Tree, Adam’s fiddle again sounding rustic old school notes.
The slower Come Back Darling serves as a fine harmony showcase although, built around descending scales, could have maybe afforded a little bump in the road to push things along. However, the melodically tumbling Notary Public, which takes a lyrically playful legal approach to a broken heart, is a whimsical delight, Adam’s fiddle conjuring cabin porch family gatherings, rounding off with a succinct curlicue.
A nod to their home state, the wistful hard times Cairo, IL brings the all too short set to an end with hints of Stephen Foster and adds another reference to the banks of the Ohio to the Americana canon. Apparently, their contemporaries had been urging them to make music together for some time, thankfully they finally decided to listen. Now it’s your turn.
The Brother Brothers Tugboats EP is out now and is self-released