THE GAGE BROTHERS
ALL YOU ARE–WHERE CAN I GO–TEACHING MYSELF THE BLUES–MY BABY–GONE–ME AND MYSELF–CAGED–KNOW ME–I’M SO LONESOME–I’LL BE THE ONE–COME HOME–THIRD SEASON–AUCTION BLOCK
Akron-based brothers Zach and Ben Cage took their love of traditional folk sounds and intricate harmonies and released their highly-acclaimed debut in 2015, “Take It Back.” Fast-forward some two years and the fellows are back, and the harmonies are still intact for their latest effort, the self-titled “Gage Brothers.” On this set, the brothers reflect upon changes not only in their lives, but society and the ever-evolving musical landscape as well. And, on this record, they employ two close friends, their “honorary siblings,” Brendan O’ Malley on mandolin, and Chris Volpe on banjo, adding to the overall authenticity of this collection of twelve originals and one traditional cover.
The fun starts with some of those fine harmonies on the request of a lover to “feed my desires with All You Are,” while “Where Can I Go” features some sweet gospel overtones as our hero comes to grips with his demons, and climaxes with the voices blending into some sublime Sunday-morning splendor.
There are some great examples of what many fans of traditional bluegrass will enjoy. The instrumental interplay mixed with the harmony of “Caged” is pure joy, as is the set-closer, “no more Auction Block for me,” which also features some well-played country-blues harp within the mix.
The set had some light-hearted moments, and one downright bluesy cut, all of which served as our favorites. In the tradition of the Dillards, the band hits an old-time stride with the lively “My Baby, she don’t love me any more,” and do it again a bit later with the good-time fun of a man who “practices drinking every day just to make sure I do it right,” the humorous “Me And Myself.” And, the set’s bluesiest cut has everything you need—drinkin’, cheatin’, and gamblin’ “down at the Cincinnati track with a life’s savings I’ll never get back,” as our hero does a sho’ nuff good job of “Teaching Myself The Blues!”
With their expanded lineup, the Gage Brothers take their traditional roots and Americana sounds to a new level, and capture precisely what the band was looking for—a set that everyone will enjoy! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.