As the title of their latest album from Mountain Fever attests, The Crowe Brothers (Josh and Wayne) have been been performing together now for more than forty years. Brother duet harmony singing never seems to go out of style, and this pair is back with another strong dose on Forty Years Old.
The Crowe Brothers aren’t where you go for surprises. On stage or on CD you can be secure expecting to get a powerful performance of traditional bluegrass and country music any time from these boys. They are joined here by a fine rhythm section, with Steve Sutton on banjo, Brian Blaylock on mandolin, and both Travis Wetzel and David Johnson on fiddle. Josh Crowe plays guitar and Wayne bass.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice on this new record is the inclusion of a number of classic country numbers. Excuse Me, I think I’ve Got A Heartache, given its classic rendering by Buck Owens in 1960, gets a lively bluegrass treatment with Wayne on lead, as does Hank Locklin’s Send Me The Pillow which was a hit in ’58. Josh lays down both lead and tenor on that one, with twin fiddles and Sutton on dojo, and it’s like a trip back to the sixties when what we now know as country music was first becoming standardized.
Josh also handles the lead on Lost Highway, a Leon Payne song that was hit for Hank Williams Sr. in 1949, and on Angel Mother which Jim & Jesse recorded in 1966. He also does a fine version on the Gospel favorite, Someday My Ship Will Sail. Livin’ In A Mobile Home allows for touch of comedy, but with a smoother delivery than brought by Riders In The Sky
>There’s plenty of new material to be found as well. Green Fields of Erin offers a Celtic feel, a new diversion for the Crowe’s, and Wayne presents his first original song, Where Will You Be, a driving mid-tempo Gospel grasser. The quasi-title track is You Turned Forty Years Old from Steve Watts, a lovely ballad that finds a father reminiscing on the day his son enters his fourth decade.
Released earlier as a single, I’ve Got The Moon On My Side comes from Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall, and Troy Engle. It’s a swingy song of heartbreak and love gone wrong, but told in a cheerful style.
The record concludes with a real barnburner, Two Feet On The Floor, from Ed Williams.
There can be no doubt that Crowe Brothers fans will embrace Forty Years Old enthusiastically, as will anyone who enjoys traditional bluegrass and country music. Mountain Fever has done a top job with the audio, putting together a fine project all the way ’round.
This is a good’n.