There’s no mistaking the emphatic emotions and outright exuberance that typifies the music made by the Goodwin Brothers. Granted, their timing may have been a bit troublesome, especially considering they relaunched themselves in 2020 while the pandemic was in full throttle. Nevertheless, their video tribute to The Osborne Brothers, their musical heroes, struck a nerve with any number of influential individuals, among them, such important and iconic taste-makers as Dan Tyminski, Doyle Lawson, Sonya Isaacs, Ronnie Reno, and even Sonny Osborne himself.
Not that the brothers are newcomers by any means. The two siblings began performing together in the early ’90s at incredibly young ages. Jonathan was eight and William was six, yet even before that they had been singing separately in church, school plays, and various other events. Neither had yet reached their teens when they released their first album in 1999, at which time they began making a name for themselves on the festival circuit throughout the eastern US.
The current Goodwin Brothers band — brothers Jonathan and William (vocals, guitar, mandolin) and Kenneth (Chase) Bush (washboard, vocals) — have not only followed through on that early promise, courtesy of their new Pinecastle Records outing, If You Hadn’t Noticed, but have also managed to enlist an impressive cast of stellar support musicians to help them in their new endeavor. Sammy Shelor, Russ Carson, and Scott Vestal contribute banjo, fiddle comes courtesy of Michael Cleveland, Aubrey Haynie, and Jim VanCleve, Josh Swift and Rob Ickes play dobro, Eric Darken’s on percussion, Mark Fain, Curtis Vestal, and Gary Lunn lend support on bass, and Shaun Richardson and Cody Kilby add additional guitars.
The result is a stunning set of songs, one that reflects a decided vigor and vitality. Midnight Train, Down to the Mill, Barefoot Girl, and Everyday Thing are prime examples, each a rousing repast swept along by a flurry of picking, plucking, and vibrant harmonies that fully express the obvious and inherent enthusiasm. On the other hand, songs such as Fall of the Year, Bottom of the Holler, Monday Morning, and Send It Down dig deep into more tender and touching territory, and leave an equally striking impression in their wake.
The songs come from a variety of outside sources, but the only attempt to ply the familiarity factor comes via a cover of Shady Grove. It hardly matters though; in every case, the brothers manage to make the music their own.
The album title bodes well. Those that hadn’t noticed by now, will likely find reason to take notice in the future.