Less than two years after his groundbreaking solo album, Ain't We Brothers, Sam Gleaves is back, this time with Tyler Hughes in tow. Theirs is a classic Appalachian-style duo album full of brother-duet harmonies, with Gleaves playing guitar, fiddle and mandolin, and Hughes on banjo, gourd banjo, guitar and Autoharp.
There are only two of Gleaves' and Hughes' original songs on the album, but the caringly curated mix of material is obviously near and dear to their hearts. Along with traditional songs, they do beautiful, timely renditions of social justice classics like James Oppenheim's "Bread and Roses," Tom T. Hall's "Washed My Face in the Morning Dew" and Ola Belle Reed's "Tear Down the Fences."
Gleaves and Hughes also give female singers and songwriters their due, with songs by Maybelle Carter, Janette Carter, Anndrena Belcher and Gleaves' aunt, Kate Peters Sturgill, as well as an old Carter Family favourite, Boudleaux Bryant's "Well I Guess I Told You Off." Their versions of old-time numbers like "Mister Rabbit," "Sleepy Eyed John" and Wade E. Mainer's "I Can't Sit Down" are so perfectly done, they're a good bet to become must-hear versions of those songs for a new generation of players.
Produced by Cathy Fink, a veteran of traditional and roots music, Sam Gleaves and Tyler Hughes' album is enough to make anyone question the worn-out stereotypes about Appalachian music and the people who make it. (Community Music)