The Sumner Brothers

Speaking of releases that HearYa has neglected, I’ll Be There Tomorrow fits the bill. It is the sophomore effort for Vancouver’s country outfit, The Sumner Brothers. Led my brothers Bob and Brian, they are once again dabbling in the things that always make HearYa stand up and take notice – twang and rocking.

The opening track, Toughest Man In Prison, smacks you right across the face as if to say, “Hey dumbass, wake up. You’re going to really enjoy this album.” It sounds like somebody unearthed some Johnny Cash lyrics and then got Titus Andronicus to play it.

Next up is a good ol’ tale about a man leaving his family to head out West “to do what a man’s got to do.” Aptly titled Going Out West it invokes memories of an old-time country-western tune. That’s followed up by a stellar version of Townes Van Zandt’s Colorado Girl. Later on they knock out a great cover of Jimmy Rogers’ That’s Alright.

This is the sort of music that Country Western is supposed to be. Hardscrabble, no frills music that resonates with the listener.

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The Sumner Brothers were recommended to us by our fine Canadian friends, The Deep Dark Woods. We’ve shown a propensity for liking the same music, it seemed likely that we’d be fans of Bob & Brian Sumner. In fact, The Sumner Brothers are featured on the same Townes Van Zandt compilation alongside The Deep Dark Woods.

You’ll hear shades of Cash, Willie, and Haggard throughout the album. “Pain” and “Two Hands” evoke memories of The Man In Black. The songs move slowly and are deeply affecting. Lyrics from the two include:

Love can live without me / It’s a big a world.
Better look over what I got / Cause it won’t last long / I better look over what I got / Long live the pain

Willie is front and center during “Yeah Blue,” a traditional song that ambles along as Bob sings of his beloved dog. Bob also delivers the goods on “Girl in the Window,” a rollicking tune that boogies along with a tasty harp lick.

I like The Sumner Brothers for many of the same reasons I love artists like Justin Townes Earle, The Deep Dark Woods, and Joe Pug.  They bring Country and Folk music back to a time when it was less about writing music for Corona commercials and more about staying true to yourself. The Brothers have put together an album that deserves more of an audience, especially here in the States.

The Sumner Brothers – Both Back

The Sumner Brothers – Colorado Girl (Townes Van Zandt Cover)

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