It’s been ten years since we started working on a style that has become our unique trademark. It's been twelve years since The Earl Brothers started working on a style that has become their unique trademark, “Outlaw Hillbilly Music”. The Earl Brothers have received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from music-lovers far and wide. In the October, 2010 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited, a feature article named band leader Robert Earl Davis “The Hillbilly Hero”.
In the 1970s, The Ramones tore Rock and Roll down to its primitive components and built it back up again to make a raw, urgent, original music. The Earl Brothers have done the same with Bluegrass. Their gritty, mournful songs recall ancient honky-tonks, and Southern back roads with a unique edgy directness. Their music forgoes the softer contemporary acoustic sound of many modern day Bluegrass bands. The band’s “less is more” approach to songwriting, singing, and musicianship is, direct, simple, and yet somehow different from everything else.
If you have time to leave a comment we'd love to hear from you.
"THE EARL BROTHERS HAVE GOT THE SOUL AND THE SONGS AND THE ATTITUDE THAT BROUGHT US ALL INTO BLUEGRASS MUSIC IN THE FIRST PLACE.
THEIR SONGS CRY OF THE MOUNTAINS, OF THE PEOPLE AND OF THE TRADITIONS DOWN THROUGH THE AGES.
BLUEGRASS IS ALIVE AND WELL."
Pioneer of the genre known as “Country Rock”.
Worked with such notable bands as The Byrds,
The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Desert Rose Band.
As a promoter of Traditional Bluegrass, I have grown to respect "The Earl Bros" very much. Great songwriting,excellent picking,& a sound all they're own. This is true "Gravel & Grit" Bluegrass. I want them back soon!!
B.K.Prod's Bluegrass Shows
Quote from Wikipedia, online encyclopedia, for the definition of Bluegrass Music;
It could be argued that a fourth generation of bluegrass musicians is beginning to appear, marked by a high level of technical skill demonstrated. Although it is too soon to see definite trends, the most notable fourth generation musician to emerge so far is probably Chris Thile, who released solo bluegrass albums at age 13 and 16 (Leading Off and Stealing Second), respectively), before reaching wider fame as a member of the bluegrass-influenced acoustic band Nickel Creek. Recently, however, Thile's claim to the throne of bluegrass "prince" has been challenged by Josh Pinkham, a Florida teenager who performed at "Merlefest" only 18 months after picking up a mandolin.
Other notable recent bluegrass bands are The Earl Brothers, who fuse a traditional sound with innovative songwriting and lyrics atypical for bluegrass, and Colorado's Open Road, a traditional-sounding band with strong original material”.
"The only thing to say about traditional bluegrass at it's best is.... THE EARL BROTHERS. Their modern writing style is combined with their traditional vocals and music. They have captured, in my opinion, the best sound bluegrass can offer. As soon as we started playing their music on WDVX, they went straight to #1 on our playlist. With bands like the Earl Brothers in the Bluegrass Circuit, the music that Bill Monroe created years ago will stay in good hands! In my opinion, the Earl Brothers will continue to create traditional bluegrass all over again."
- Alex Leach, WDVX Radio, Knoxville TN.
" A GREAT NEW SOUNDING BAND WITH HIGH-LONESOME QUALITIES THAT HAVE NOT BEEN HEARD SINCE
THE RECORDINGS OF THE RURAL MOUNTAIN BANDS OF THE 40'S. MY AUDIENCE LIT UP ALL FOUR PHONE
LINES IN THE STUDIO UPON HEARING THEIR MUSIC. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
CKUT 90.3 FM
"...Man, every time I hear them I want to grab the closest beer bottle and hurl it into the far wall... They've got the sound, the drive, the feeling we've been missing out here all these years! My HIGHEST recommendation!"
"Pig in a Pen" KPFA-FM / 94.1 FM
"A rickety old steam engine rhythm, rough ole hollerin' pitiful, sad singing,
three layers of what sounds like a bunch of acoustic bluegrass whammy bars,
throw an occasional old metal hubcap down the track, that's the sound of the
Earl Brother's collection of songs called "Whiskey, Women and Death". No
Nashville, slicked-up, cookie cutter Bluegrass here, it's real, and it
Amy Campbell, 89.9 fm WDVX Radio, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Earl Brothers: Troubles To Blame
By: Mark Burnell
Its not often that a band manages to sound both ancient and modern at the
same time, but that’s what the Earl Brothers accomplish on this fine new
The ancient comes from their sound. Normally if someone mentions
“traditional bluegrass” as a reference point, they mean Del McCoury ; here it
means channeling the spirit of the Stanley Brothers. The modern comes from
the lyrics and the underlying tone of the whole effort, which is dark and more
Nick Cave than Bill Monroe.
The Earl Brother hail from around the country but gathered together in San Fancisco and base themselves around the
impressive songwriting of Virginia Natives Robert Earl Davis (banjo) and John McKelvy (guitar), who are ably supported
by Larry Hughes (mando) and Josh Sidman (bass). On first listen, this album sounds like it could be a reissue from
the early 1950s ; bluegrass back then was recorded quickly and cheaply, with the musicians gathered round a single
microphone , the way they played live , and the result was a reed thin sound dominated by high pitched vocals (the ‘high
lonesome sound’). Hearing a modern era band recreate this sound, which is so far removed from what your ears are
accustomed to hearing, borders on the avant-garde. Make no mistake, though – this is no pastiche, nor is it simple
homage . There might be a sly dose of post modernism at work here, but these guys are talented bluegrass musicians
who choose to express themselves by going further back to their roots than most modern bands would dare to.
And a good chunk of what stops it from being pastiche or homage is the lyrics, which , while dealing with the classic
bluegrass subjects of lost loves and hard times , are as bleak as anything ever written in the genre. When McKelvy
writes lines like ‘My best shirt is stained from your face, Soon I’ll find someone to take your place’ , you realize you’re in a
place closer to Deliverance than Nashville. Davis’ lyrics come from a similarly bleak place : ‘Beer in the front seat, gun
in the back, now I’m on my way’ (Old Gun Road). Suicide, death and murder permeate the world the Earl Brothers
create, mostly from a first person perspective – you hope these guys aren’t writing from experience. The songwriting is
both excellent and provocative– the song Another Broken Hearted Fool elicits sympathy for its singer, a man apparently
unlucky in love, until you realize he is both wife beater and killer. And of course, the song is catchy enough to happily sing
A fine, original album ; highly recommended.