‘Ballad of the Brothers’ – The Bacon Brothers – New Album Review
UPDATED: April 19, 2024
UPDATED: April 19, 2024
The bacon Brothers Ballad of the brothers

The Bacon Brothers, comprising the iconic Kevin Bacon and his remarkably talented brother, composer Michael Bacon, truly embody the essence of Heartworn Heroes. The pair have been around dropping albums since 1994, this dynamic duo has consistently dazzled the music scene. Their latest project, Ballad of the Brothers, is the 12th gem in their already impressive discography. While I’ve casually dabbled in the Bacon Brothers’ music in the past, it wasn’t until this album that I fully immersed myself in their signature blend of Alt-Country and Rockin’ Blues. And let me tell you—they caught a new fan, hook, line and sinker.

Ballad of the Brothers

First and foremost, not to beat a dead horse into oblivion, at RootsnReverly, our passion is shining a spotlight on talented songwriters, and that brings us straight to the Bacon Brothers. I’ll admit, perhaps due to my own oversight and arrogance, but more so, never formally diving into their work, I underestimated their musical prowess. It’s time I rectify that and formally apologize. After experiencing their latest work, Ballad of the Brothers, I realize I’ve been missing out on something truly special. This album isn’t just a collection of songs; it’s a showcase of finely honed talent, where every track is crafted and arranged with the expertise of true veterans.

The songwriting is where the Bacon Brothers truly stand out. Each song is solid, offering depth and moments of introspection. The album’s overall sound can best be described as “vintage,” a deliberate nod, it seems, to the 1970s era of singer/songwriters, Philly soul bands, and classic rock icons. If their aim was to pay homage to that golden age of music, then they’ve hit the mark spectacularly. Above all, Ballad of the Brothers is just plain infectious fun.

Highlights, Songs, and Lyrics

From the get-go, the album boldly declares its homage to classic rock with Take Off This Tattoo, featuring vintage guitar riffs and drums that echo the ’70s sound. The song gets introspective with themes of love lost and the regrets that linger, symbolized through the imagery of fading tattoos.

The journey continues with Losing the Night, which could easily be a nod to the iconic Eagles. Here, Kevin sings to a lover—or perhaps the concept of love itself—about the fleeting nature of the night and the desperate attempt to reignite a spark. The track is beautifully layered with the sweet melodies and the unigue addition of a dulcimer, adding depth and emotion.

Then, Put Your Hand Up transports listeners straight to a 1950s dance hall, complete with brass horns and catchy call-and-response harmonies. Listening to it, I was nearly overcome with the desire to grab the nearest lady and twirl the night away—though, of course, I resisted. After all, thats problematic….and illegal.

More Standout Tracks

I absolutely adore their rendition of Dreams of the San Joaquin. This track stands out for its “Rootsy” vibe and stripped down arrangement, transforming into a stunning piano ballad. The harmonies and backup vocals provided by singer/songwriter Cindy Alexander are so powerful, they’re guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. Listening to it, I’m whisked away to my childhood, reliving memories of an old Baptist church choir. It’s a genuinely breathtaking cover. 

Old Bronco emerges as one of the most infectiously foot stomping tracks on the album, and it’s clear it was crafted to be just that. The song masterfully weaves through genres, finding a sweet spot somewhere between a Jack Johnson tune and classic Motown, enriched by Jerry Garcia-ish noodling, set against the backdrop of a rumbling, vintage engine.

The brothers serve up a solid foot stompin version of Pat Benatar‘s We Belong. Once again joined by Cindy Alexander on backup vocals, you’ll find yourself belting along to the chorus and power sliding across the floor. 

Michael Bacon’s cello shines in the more country-and-western, driving tune Ballad of the Brothers, which eerily at times, recounts the story of Willie Nelson’s clandestine entry into the legendary Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas.

The album fittingly concludes with Live with the Lie, paying homage to their earlier work, blending country and blues into a classic “done me wrong” heartbreak anthem. The track grandly wraps up the album with a large cinematic bridge, featuring soaring electric guitar solos, pounding drums, and blaring horn solos, bringing everything to a triumphant and electrifying finale.

Tracklist:

Song Title Length
Take Off This Tattoo 3:10
Losing The Night 4:04
Put Your Hand up 3:22
Dreams Of The San Joaquin 5:38
Old Bronco 2:59
Airport bar 4:08
We Belong 5:10
Let That Be Enough 4:13
The Ballad Of The Brothers 4:53
Freestanding 2:09
Live With The Lie 7:01

Final Thoughts

The Bacon brothers fry up a HOT album. (see what I did there…..)

Ballad of the Brothers is an exceptional and, in simple terms, a “fun” musical voyage that blends modern country and blues with the nostalgic vibes of ’70s rock. The songwriting and dynamic compositions showcase the Bacon Brothers’ dedication to their art and their unwavering passion for music and its genres. Before diving into this album, I couldn’t have named a single Bacon Brothers track, further proving these guys are criminally underrated. After giving Ballad of the Brothers a listen, I’m a fan for life and I’m thrilled to have such a meaty discography to sink my teeth into. This album is a successful journey across musical styles and a captivating homage to vintage rock. 

 

Album Release: April 19, 2024

Label: FOROSCO Music: licensed to Forty Below Records

Favorite Tracks: Old Bronco, Losing the night 

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

B-

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