“This is who we are…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. Nothing is sugar coated. Our goal, really, is to see this music be revived, to help ensure it doesn’t fade away. It is so encouraging to have young people come to our shows with a new interest in our ‘old music.’ Being able to introduce what we love to another generation feels like a great accomplishment for us. We want this music to be around for our children’s children…” – Chris Malpass
Ladies and gentlemen, meet The Malpass Brothers. They’re a duo made up of brothers Taylor and Chris Malpass. Together they make country music. Not just any country music, but classic country music. They’re inspired by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. Speaking of The Hag, they toured with him for six years and released an album under Hag Records. To top it all off, look at the way they dress and their haircuts above. They’re rocking the Conway Twitty look! I think you get the picture: The Malpass Brothers couldn’t be anymore country if they tried. So does their new self-titled album sound as country as they look? Oh yes, yes it does.
The first song to kick off the album is “A Death in the Family.” The brothers prove right away they can tackle classic country on this Bill Anderson song. The fiddles and pedal steel guitar are perfect. Next the Malpass Brothers cover the Bobby Bare song, “Which One is to Blame.” Once again they knock it out of the park, as their vocal delivery is spot on. You think you’re listening to some artist from the 60s when it’s two brothers in their early 20s in the year 2015. One of my favorite covers the brothers do on the album is the Jerry Lee Lewis song, “It’ll Be Me.” It just feels like a perfect fit for the two and the piano play is dazzling. Once again I want more piano in country songs.
“Learn To Love Me Too” is a love song where the man is not only convincing his love to love him, but trying to convince himself to love himself too. He’s made some mistakes in the past and is hoping to make up for them now. I’m assuming this is a new song and not a cover, as I couldn’t find anything indicating it was a cover. Regardless whoever wrote it did a great job and brought a new perspective to a love song. Taylor Malpass takes the lead vocals on the Willie Nelson tune, “Hello Walls.” They’re phenomenal, as his bellowing vocals on the opening notes instantly pull the listeners in. Not too many artists can do so much justice to a Willie song and that’s exactly what the brothers do here. This album continues to get better as next is the Marty Robbins song, “Begging To You.” Chris Malpass nails the higher notes on this song and adds the right amount of emotion to this heartbreak classic. The sweeping piano play in the bridge is just icing on the cake to this sweet song.
“Here In Alberta I’ll Stay” is one of three new songs on the album and the Malpass Brothers of course nail it even. Written by Pete Goble, the song is about a cowboy from Texas finding the love of his life, a cowgirl from Alberta, Canada. This is my favorite song on the album because these two simply get country love ballads and I hope they tackle more original material on their next album. So far in the album the Malpass Brothers have covered Bill Anderson, Marty Robbins and Willie Nelson. Next? George Strait’s “I Met A Friend of Yours Today.” The song is about a man overhearing another man talk about his wife at a bar and realizing she’s cheating on him. Once again they brilliantly cover a song from an iconic country artist.
Oh, but the Malpass Brothers decide to go even higher up on the country music legend scale in their covers. They perform a song by the country music king himself, Hank Williams. Now this is ballsy! “Baby, We’re Really In Love” is a simple love song that is part of the foundation of what country music truly is. I think Hank would be pretty proud of the Malpass Brothers performing this song. The third original song on the album (at least I think it is, as I couldn’t find any information that says it is a cover) is “I Found Someone To Love,” a song about a man falling in love with a woman, but she doesn’t love him back. Despite her not feeling the same way, the man is still persistent in his love for her. Again the Malpass Brothers simply get love ballads.
Once again the brothers tackle a Hank song, this time it’s “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Livin’.” It’s a heartbreak song about a man not enjoying the life he has with his woman and wanting to get out of it. I think I’m running out of superlatives to describe how great The Malpass Brothers are. The final song on the album is “Satan and The Saint,” which I knew was a Louvin Brothers song just by looking at the title. There’s plenty of acoustic guitar and mandolin on this song, the signature sound of The Louvin Brothers. Congratulations to you Malpass Brothers, as I’m now convinced you could cover any country song you want and it would be awesome.
Very rarely am I left speechless and a loss for words when listening to a great album, but this is the case with The Malpass Brothers’ new self-titled album. This is just pure, classic country that words can’t do justice. I’ve listened to this album over and over. I can’t get over how great it is and how two young artists like Chris and Taylor Malpass get country music so damn well. These guys were born to make country music. If you’re a fan of pop country music, don’t listen to this album. It’s simply too country for you. For those who love traditional and classic country, buy this album, press play and prepare to be amazed. You can’t get anymore country than this album. This is one of my favorites of 2015 and I can’t wait to hear more music from The Malpass Brothers for years to come.