While the term “California Country” usually pinpoints listeners to the dusty city of Bakersfield, where Buck Owens laid a foundation that still holds strong today. Yet the lower half of The Golden State still can twang with the best of them, even if it’s often overshadowed by “Laurel Canyons” or “Desert Rocks” in its southern counterparts. Take Brother Earl and The Cousins who reverberate with the warm earnest vocals of Tyler Childers and the rebellious rock heroics of Jason Isbell. The southern California outfit returns with a new EP titled Down With My Ship out on August 13th.
The Down With My Ship EP is produced by Grammy winner Tim Hutton (Jimmy Cliff, Three Dog Night) and, is an impassioned yet fun romp through unrequited love, spiritual conflict, self-awareness, and, for good measure, fishin’ trips.
Recorded at Hutton’s The Canyon Hut studios (which also happens to be the former home of Alice Cooper), there’s a relaxed, joyful nature to these five songs, reflecting an aesthetic that owes as much credit to Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre as to Townes Van Zandt and John Lennon. “I’m a Southern California kid,” says singer/songwriter/guitarist Brother Earl, “I’m pretty sure I was listening to some sort of Dre beat when I got pulled over for my DUI when I was 16.”
After said DUI, Earl was sentenced to helping out at his mom’s church over the summer, where he met an “old school rocker” who turned him on to Petra and inspired him to invest more time into playing guitar and singing. It wasn’t until he joined the Army, shortly after 9/11, that he began writing his own songs. When he found himself dealing with both a back injury and a broken heart, Brother Earl sought solace in songwriting, noting that “all of the sudden, my guitar, a piece of paper, and a pencil was what I used to get through it.”
Along with the album, announcement Glide is premiering the cunning “Woman (Lover, Lover)” (below) where Brother Earl drops razor-sharp country hooks atop a big-hearted Americana melodic sound made for both American pickup trucks and Subarus.
“I wrote this song about the idea of running into that ex-lover/partner that maybe “got away.” It’s years later, and a lot of growth has taken place. Do they recognize you? Would they even remember your name? Even more so, do they still miss what you once had?” says Brother Earl.
“Before getting into the studio, this song was much more of a bluegrass style tune. It was very fast paced and we played it with a classic shuffle on the drums. On the day of recording we decided to change the groove a little bit, slowed it down a touch, and bumped the key up a couple of steps for good measure. This turned the song into a much more new-school country track than I ever thought it had the potential for.”