Deadstring Brothers — Sao Paulo
This Detroit band's 2006 Bloodshot Records debut, Starving Winter Report, impressed me and made me draw comparisons to The Band, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan for the way it effectively fused blues, rock and country elements. Its 2007 follow-up, Silver Mountain, had too much of a Black Crowes vibe in places and was a comparative disappointment.
Sao Paulo is a bit better, but I still much prefer Starving Winter Report. Exile On Main Street-era Stones influences are all over this 10-song, 38-minute album. That works best on "Smile," "Can't Make It Through The Night" and the boogie-woogie piano-inclusive "Houston."
Female backing vocals work well wherever they're used.
Organ and slide guitar make "The River Song" stand out, and the rootsy ballad "Yesterday's Style" — augmented with piano and accordion — are the other highlights.
The title track and "The Same Old Rule" are more blues-based, while "Adalee" and closer "Always A Friend Of Mine" are slower and don't add much.
I'll give this album 6/10.
Bloodshot will release Sao Paulo in North America on Feb. 23.