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BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours

If you're not on board with The Drinkwaters, then get on board because they are taking off.

BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours

SMILING AND WEEPING is only six songs long, a fact that classifies it as an EP, rather than a CD, but The Drinkwater Brothers could turn an old-fashioned 45 single into an album, so sharp is their focus on the craft of storytelling. Since daring to step out of Open-Mic Land, since getting the courage to fly solo, Matthew and John have consistently carved a space for themselves in the club and concert industry, a space that grows wider with each new artistic accomplishment. With this new collection of songs, the accidental songwriters have found their voice, and it is the voice of the modern-day troubadour. With sensibilities and sounds that harken back to the likes of Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and The Beatles, these six simple tracks dive deep into poetry of lyric, originality of melody, generosity of emotion, and profundity of message. Just try to get through your first playing of the album without hitting the replay button on your device - be sure to clock all the emotions you experience from the philosophical exploration riding on the wave of melodic sophistication.

Right out the gate, John and Matthew gently take hold of your attention and your heart with a song titled "Astronaut" reminiscent of all the hopeful dreams we had as children, hopes and dreams that turn to threads in the tapestry of our life experience. We may no longer be school kids with skinned knees lying in the grass and gazing into the sky as we map out our futures of adventures galore, but those band-aid covered knees, grass stains and freckles are only beneath the surface of who we are now, ready to emerge at the urging of the Drinkwaters' lyrics.

"You say I'm a dime a dozen, I say I'm a diamond in the rough.

Even if I wasn't, I say I'm enough."

Even as adults, those words will ring true inside each of us, sublimely and utterly married to a melody rolling around our hearts, resonating in our minds, and flowing through our veins. It has been a long time since this writer has been so emotionally moved by a lyrical creation; not since my favorite male singer-songwriter, Dan Tracy, retired from the music business some years ago have I woken in the morning with a song already playing in my head. "Astronaut" is my constant companion for the last two weeks. The album only begins with this, my new favorite song, and, like Matthew and John's social media numbers, the album grows and grows, with half of the songs representing a more hopeful mood, and the other presenting something more introspective. The era in which the album was created has been riddled with bi-polar feelings, and John and Matthew obviously used their pandemic experience and that of the people in their circle to inform Smiling and Weeping. Note the reflective flow of "Long Gone", like the steady breathing of a meditation focusing on the lyric "Maybe a needle and thread could only prolong a moment of sunlight just before dawn. 'Cause our time has come, and our time is long, long gone" or the brilliant sense of obsession captured in the repetitive nature of both the melodic line and laser-focused lyric of "Collided": "Too over and over again and I can't help spilling my guts to my friends. Two-forty AM and again I've been dancing loud to the sound of my band." There isn't a thought or emotion in the Drinkwaters' storytelling that won't be familiar to the listener, whether they are reflections and feelings experienced yesterday or forty years ago. That's storytelling, my friend.

Switching off on lead vocals with John taking the mic on "Astronaut", "Long Gone", "Collision" and "Stay", while "Peanuts" and "Rain" are the responsibility of Matthew, the brothers provide all the vocals, backing one another up in harmonies that have become the trademark of The Drinkwater sound, and from start to finish, there is not one missed opportunity or note - also a trademark of The Drinkwaters. Equally impressive is the fact that the twins recorded the album from home during the quarantine - all the vocals and all the instrumental accompaniment coming from nobody but their good selves, before being sent off to Jackson Gillies for mixing and mastering. Though it is not advisable to take one's attention off of the storytelling and the music, it would behoove the listener to pay attention to the quality of the recording, if only to pay homage to the recording industry which will suffer greatly in the future as artists continue to grow in their ability to be in absolute control of their art, their product, and their industry. For the first time in centuries, the artists of the world will be in complete control of their destiny.

As for John and Matthew, The Drinkwater Brothers, they have been controlling their destiny for a while now. Their presence on social media has been prolific, particularly their dedication to regular online concerts that keep them connected to a fanbase growing as rapidly as an artist working all on their own could wish. Now, with product coming out of their home recording studio, product like SMILING AND WEEPING, an album this writer believes every music lover will find relatable and enjoyable, Matthew and John are fully in line to, one day, leave behind a legacy as great as that of the troubadours who have come before them. The Drinkwater Brothers are on their way to greatness, something that grows in and around them with each passing day of their creation.

The Drinkwater Brothers SMILING AND WEEPING is a 2021 release on The Drinkwater Brothers label. It is available on all digital platforms.

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The Drinkwater Brothers by Helane Blumfield:

BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours

BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours BWW CD Review: With SMILING AND WEEPING The Drinkwater Brothers Claim Their Place As Today's Troubadours


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