“My brother Taylor and I do the type of music we do because this music speaks to us, and speaks to the souls of its listeners. For us, traditional country music is the ‘real deal’ – every song portrays life’s joys, heartaches, problems and happiness. It comes from the heart, and has depth and truth.…”
— Christopher Malpass
At first listen to the The Malpass Brothers recent self-titled release (Organic Records) you will feel as if you stepped back in time. The brothers, Christopher and Taylor, not only look like they belong in a different era, but they sound as if they do as well. Without having to introduce the words “fresh” or “contemporary” their sound can simply and easily be described as classic, traditional country, reminiscent of Hank Williams, early Merle Haggard and Marty Robbins. The album contains twelve songs: three originals that pair perfectly with well-done takes on the standards.
The gentlemen convey sadness and heartbreak on “A Death In The Family,” “Begging to You” and George Strait’s “I Met A Friend of Yours Today.” Then bring a little happiness into the fold with Hank Williams’ “Baby We’re Really In Love” and the lovely original, “Here In Alberta I'll Stay." Written by Pete Goble and sung by Christopher, the song is about a cowboy from Texas who finds the “dream he’d been chasing” in a Canadian cowgirl.
Standout track (and another original), “Learn to Love Me Too,” was co-written by the brothers and has both a melody and lyrics that are absolutely touching. “I’m praying you’re the lifeboat that comes to recue me/I will sail across the sea of life with you/And when the storms arrive we’ll anchor in a love that’s true/And no matter where the waters flow we’re together me and you/Maybe I’ll find myself and learn to love me too.” While Christopher sings on the majority of the songs, Taylor, along with the brother’s harmonies, gets to shine on the lonesome, yet humorous, take of “Hello Walls.”
Pedal steel, fiddle and mandolin (along with quality musicianship) can be found throughout the record while piano plays prominently as well, particularly on “I Found Someone To Love,” and the Jerry Lee Lewis cover “It’ll Be Me.” The album concludes with the Louvin Brothers’ “Satan and the Saint” on which Chris plays Charlie Louvin’s guitar, and Taylor plays Ira Louvin’s mandolin.
Many artists cover songs and claim to hold steadfast onto tradition, but it doesn’t seem to get any more genuine than The Malpass Brothers. One can tell they have a true respect for the past that I for one look forward to hearing more of in original material in the future. If you are looking for an alternative to the mainstream, definitely give The Malpass Brothers a listen. It’s a good place to start.....and then delve deeper into the sound that they hold dear, the one that is the basis of the genre.