Close Harmony – Bibelhauser Brothers

Clearly, there’s no substitute for sibling harmonies, and in that regard, the Bibelhauser Brothers can boast truth in the title of their new album, Close Harmony, a stirring example of what emerges when brothers voices share their voices in sync. Likewise, when Adam Bibelhauser (vocals, bass) and twin brother Aaron Bibelhauser (vocals, guitar, dobro, banjo, piano, and pedal steel) enlist occasional backing from Michael Cleveland (mandolin, fiddle), Steve Cooley (banjo), Jeff Guernsey (fiddle), and Jesse Hall (drums), it results in a set of songs that freely replicate a well-stocked selection of archival offerings. 

Aaron Bibelhauserin in particular can claim an impressive resume, one that includes a varied career as an accomplished session musician, producer, engineer, and long time host of the weekly radio broadcast, Bluegrass Evolution, on Kentucky’s  91.9 WFPK. So too, it’s consistently clear that the brothers have put their knowledge to good use as they recast classics by Roy Acuff (Do You Wonder), the Delmore Brothers, Bill Monroe, Hugh Moffatt, the Louvin Brothers, and Ralph Stanley. They may vary the mood, but regardless of tone and tempo, the music comes across fully fueled and eagerly emotive. The high harmonies shared in What Would You Give, the occasional yodel that wraps up Night Rider’s Lament, the good-natured delivery given Do You Wonder, and the sweet sashay and sway of When I Stop Dreaming, Place in the Sun, Rose of My Heart, and Banks of the Rio Grande allow them to make each of these offerings their own.

“In the early years of singing with my brother, I believe we conjured a force from within that truly guided our journey to adulthood,” Adam Bibelhauser writes in the sleeve notes. ”Like the confluence of two streams, our voices united keeping us connected to one another beyond the bounds of our youth.” 

He’s clearly on the mark. The Bibelhauser Brothers are an exceptional outfit whose reverence for past precepts is matched only by their ability to make their music with heart, soul and obvious enthusiasm. They don’t attempt to reinvent any musical motif, but instead they manage to relay the material with honesty and integrity, giving each song the reverence and respect it deserves. 

With Close Harmony, the Bibelhauser Brothers are several steps closer to the wider recognition they so decidedly deserve. The affection for the music is obvious as is their affinity for one another. Close Harmony could easily be considered a blueprint for what it takes to ensure pure bluegrass perfection. 

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.