DAVE ALVIN AND PHIL ALVIN (FROM THE ALBUM COMMON GROUND, DAVE ALVIN AND PHIL ALVIN SING THE SONGS OF BIG BILL BROONZY)
It has been close to thirty years since Dave Alvin and brother, Phil Alvin, recorded an album together. One-off songs here and there and the occasional live shows of their shared history with The Blasters have put the brothers together in studio and stage. It was inspiration that took them back in to record for their recent Yep Roc Records release, Common Ground: Dave Alvin + Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy. Friends don’t stay friends in bands, and in shared blood and you have one volatile working environment in studio or stage. Addressing the unspoken question about how the recording process proceeded, brother Dave said it simply, ‘we argue sometimes, but we never argue about Big Bill Broonzy,’
Common Ground selects a dozen tracksfrom the thirty-year cross section of styles and sound given life by the pen and guitar of Big Bill Broonzy. Blues and Country boogie bump and jostle for positions on “Trucking Little Woman”, finally figuring out that the styles sound better when they get along and mingle. Dave’s ragged guitar leads a charge into the blue sway of “Just a Dream” with Phil’s honey voice and harmonica breaths living big in the story until they ‘wake up in the morning’. A percussive rattle hums with power as it watches the Ohio River rise in “Southern Flood Blues”, the rhythm falls in line behind Gene Taylor’s piano as Phil talks “I Feel So Good” and looks to be ‘balling-the-jack’. Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin are curators of American Roots music. They accepted the task in their youth by listening and take the mission with them into chronological adulthood with their music. They stay true to the beat. They are educators and students, teaching history and learning as much as listeners through their playing. Common Ground: Dave Alvin + Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy touches on one man and his sound. The music is important enough create an anomaly in the life of the Alvin brothers…… and if Big Bill can get brothers to agree, think of what his music can do for you.