Steve Recommends: “Middle Brother” by Middle Brother

When winter first arrives, I embrace it with music. I listen to “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes about twenty times every mid-November, looking forward to the first snowfall. Then Thanksgiving passes and Christmas radio ruins winter. Then January and February roll around and everything gets so “Welcome to the Black Parade” depressing. In March, I start listening to summer songs in the hope that they will kick winter in the ass like the dirty vagrant it is.

I love this video of Middle Brother at the Newport Folk Festival in 2011. Middle Brother is a supergroup of lead men from bands that I love, consisting of Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and John McCauley of Deer Tick. John McCauley is one of my favorite songwriters, occupying a space next to Shane MacGowan of The Pogues. He is at his best when he writes gritty, poignant songs of regret. “Middle Brother” is of the other McCauley variety, the party song.

There are better versions of this song, but none are more fun. McCauley looks like he just swam ashore from a white-trash Love Boat. Goldsmith’s melodica solo makes me laugh every time. The whole performance feels like a bunch of friends getting together to jam on a breezy summer day.

(Song recommendation by Steven McCarty)

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