Dusty Road, the debut album by the Brothers Brown, unveils a dynamic new presence in American roots music. It’s dozen songs—buoyed by a superb level of songwriting and musicianship—recall the work of such seminal groups as the Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival in their ability to create a sense of place and time, or, rather, timelessness, as well as emotional depth. This new union of four powerful writers, players and producers from Nashville and Los Angeles also has a similar ensemble approach, with multiple vocalists and uncanny interplay.
The Brothers Brown are fronted by two musicians named Paul Brown. One is a double Grammy winning producer, guitarist, singer and songwriter from Los Angeles. The other is a Grammy nominated producer, keyboardist and songwriter based in Nashville. The band is completed by a virtuosic rhythm section that also calls Nashville home: bassist David Santos, who has worked with Billy Joel, Elton John, John Fogerty and other superstars; and drummer Peter Young, who has toured with Loretta Lynn, Burrito Brothers and other major artists. Santos and Young are also accomplished producers.
The formidable sound they create together makes Dusty Road a unique and thrilling listening experience. From its opening burst of Latin percussion and guitarist Brown’s gently pealing, precisely phrased licks, the title track evokes images of desert highways and backwater motels rooms, of ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts next to whiskey-stained glasses—projecting a sense of loneliness limned by proud resignation. This artful character study comes together over a life-giving, back-of-the-pocket groove.