Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Feb 11th
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

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster