Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Sep 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Far From Catatonic

music brotherscomatose2The Brothers Comatose craft high-energy indie bluegrass

Though the moniker, chord changes and twangy, lamenting storyline might seem similar, The Brothers Comatose have carved out a sound all their own among the brotherhood of “brothers” folk bands.

And besides, singer/guitarist Ben Morrison says that he and his band are simply following in the footsteps of a deeply rooted American tradition.

“I don’t worry about it,” says Morrison, who had just wrapped a rehearsal in Petaluma—one of the band’s two practice spots (the other is in San Francisco). “I think that’s part of the tradition of everything—the whole family band.”

Listening to the band’s second LP, From The Road, it’s clear that Morrison doesn’t really need to fret about any accusations of rubber-stamping. The Brothers Comatose distinguish themselves quite clearly from the pop-sensible, punk caterwaul of The Avett Brothers, and the downtrodden, Dylan-esque rambling of The Felice Brothers. With their blistering, old-school bluegrass guitar runs or the ubiquity of foot-stomping fiddling, as seen on tracks like “Pennies Are Money Too” and “The Van Song,” there is no question that these guys owe more to the fast-picking, hoe-down-ready jams of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band than the introspective alt-country of Gram Parsons.

Morrison is conscious of the energy his band produces. In fact, the group’s name comes from how that energy affects his actual brother, and bandmate, Alex, who rolls his eyes way back into his head when he is really felling a particular jam.

That’s why he also isn’t concerned that those unfamiliar with his band’s tunes will skip The Brothers Comatose show at Moe’s Alley this New Year’s Eve. Sure, he says, there are some that might prefer to hear a DJ spinning top 40 tunes or electronica. But for the folks out there that like “real people playing real instruments,” Moe’s is the place to be to honky-tonk into 2013.

“Santa Cruz tends to have some of the craziest, rowdiest crowds,” Morrison says, admitting he is particularly excited about the upcoming show. “When you’re playing a show and having a party, it makes it extra cool to have the audience going buck wild.”

It’s no surprise that The Brothers Comatose are all drawn to the high-energy side of the folk and bluegrass spectrum. Though the Morrisons were first introduced to music by picking out folk tunes on acoustic guitar and banjo in their family’s living room, they soon found themselves playing in punk rock bands through their adolescence. Ultimately, they ended up looping back to the sounds and structures they learned as children—and at the moment, Morrison can’t really see himself doing anything else.

His brother Alex never put down his banjo, no matter what band he might have been playing for. “I’ve always played acoustic guitar,” Morrison says. “I always wrote songs on acoustic guitar and I always thought it sounded better on acoustic guitar, even when I was in a rock band.”

Just because The Brothers Comatose has an affinity for the sounds of old Appalachia, doesn’t mean they’re stuck in the past. In fact, the group is completely plugged into what Morrison believes to be the future of indie music financing—Kickstarter.

“I love Kickstarter,” he says. “It’s amazing.” The Brothers Comatose raised $10,000 for their sophomore LP, which allowed them to take the time they needed to get Respect The Van just right, unlike their debut, Songs From The Stoop, which he says “was definitely rushed.”

But beyond funding the group’s latest album, the Kickstarter campaign was a huge confidence lift for Morrison. It showed him that there were a lot of fans out there who cared, and above all it “debunked the notion that no one wants to pay for music anymore”—no matter if that music is made on a computer or through good, old-fashioned, foot-stompin’ jam sessions. 


 

The Brothers Comatose play at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15/adv, $18/door. Call 479-1854.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 4

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs