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James Brothers - James Brothers (Drover Records)

Star rating: 
3

Widely known for their high profile musical and marital partnerships with two of the British folk scene's leading female artists Nancy Kerr and Emily Smith, the James Brothers combine their musical chops and flair for arrangement with some brooding Sam Peckinpah-era cowboy scowls, hats and stubbly chins. Neither brothers nor cowboys, James Fagan and Jamie MacClennan ride the antipodean prairies with a repertoire of contemporary songs and tunes from their own respective neck of the woods, including Tim Finn's Split Enz-era Six Months in a Leaky Boat, Trevor Lucas' Fotheringay-period Ballad of Ned Kelly and closing with Michael O'Rourke's The Poison Train, a song that goes back some way in the Fagan canon. Standing beside these contemporary songs are one or two traditional adaptations including Shearing's Coming Round, Leatherman and The Voyage of the Buffalo. Sharing out the songs democratically, both James and Jamie compliment each other's music in a manner not too far removed from actual siblings.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky