Field Guide – My Brother’s Keeper

My Brother’s Keeper is best defined not by their output, but rather by their expression. Based in Cincinnati, they eschew any stereotypical sound and lean instead on mood and melody.

The band — which consists of brothers Benjamin, Titus, and Joshua Luckhaupt on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle respectively, and Wyatt “Sawmill” Murray on bass — excels at seamless four-part harmonies and soulful sentiment through a ready reserve of both feeling and finesse. It also offers the listener opportunity to dig deeper into the vibes they share.

Of course, for a band that’s garnered any number of awards and nominations, that’s hardly a surprise. Their sound was carefully cultivated over the course of their previous outings. John Cowan is among the many that have praised their efforts, touting their “Amazing vocals, stellar playing [and] tremendous songs,” while also referring to them as “superlative young human beings.” We here at Bluegrass Today heralded their last album by declaring, “…they make good use of that family synergy and the natural harmony and compatibility that come with it.”

Their new release, Field Guide, follows suit. Each song aims to make an emphatic impact, from the harmonica-led ramble of opening track, The Edge of the River, through to the easy ramble of That’s My God, the Celtic-flavored instrumental, The Banshees (featuring added accompaniment from Patrick D’’rcy on whistles, pipes, and bodhran), and the decidedly upbeat exuberance of Prayers of My Friends. That said, there’s also a decided consistency in terms of tone and temperament, as expressed in the slow ache and desire found in The Imposter, the mournful sounds of The Racer, and the otherwise low-key posture of Only Jesus and It’s Yours.

Ultimately, Salvation Mountain (a song that includes the harmonizing of the Wallace Sisters) and the demonstrative, The Truth of the Matter, make the most formidable impressions. Each offers an example of My Brother’s Keeper’s superb songwriter skills and the band’s ability to entice through imagery and imagination. 

Field Guide lives up to its name. In so doing, they provide a path well worth pursuing. 

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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.