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THE BROTHERS FOUR
Posted by Jim Morrell - Kirkland, WA

For what it's worth, the Brothers Four played in Kirkland, Washington last night, and will do so again tonight and tomorrow. They were fabulous. A typical Brothers Four concert with many of their standards and a couple of new additions. While the set list doesn't change much because they include all of their best work, it makes no difference, because the entire evening is one of musical excellence.

The harmonies, always a defining quality of the group, were top shelf. The two new additions, Mike McCoy and Karl Olsen, fit in beautifully, but what's more, there seems to be a renewed vitality in the group. The music seemed to have a bit more energy, and they looked like they, themselves, were having a great time. While the audience couldn't hear the banter, they seemed to often make each other laugh and seem to have a wonderful camaraderie.

Bob Flick, in his mid sixties, looks like a kid up there playing the bass, and his voice is as strong as ever both in his harmonies and his solo work. His stage banter is "belly laughing" funny. He had a couple of cracks that would have made Seinfeld, Leno, or Cosby proud. Mark Pearson, a long-standing member of the group, is a guru of stringed instruments. His banjo work was unbelievable. It seemed effortless, on the five string, quite the opposite of his work on the four string. I have no idea how a forearm and wrist become such a blur, and the pacing of his rag time work went to a fever pitch and is always a highlight of the show. He is a treasure to watch. His lead guitar work was effective as well, and his voice has gotten better over the last 20 or so years I've seen him with the group. He's a lyrical tenor on solo work, and almost impossible to pick out for his harmonies, because he blends so well with the others.

I've listened to the Brothers for close to 40 years, played and sung a lot of their material over that time, and this might be the best they've ever been. They seem to get better with every concert my wife and I attend. That's not to slight their previous work, because it's always been first cabin, but they seem to keep growing as a performing entity. The energy, the harmonies, and the excellence of musicianship give reason to why they were a big part of the folk revival. If you have the chance, don't miss one of their concerts. It's worth every nickel and every moment of time.


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