The Grief Brothers: Thirty Five Years On Woodfield Street

“Thirty Five Years On Woodfield Street” is available for purchase from Country Mile Records. Follow Country Mile and The Grief Brothers on Twitter. You can learn more about the band on their Facebook page.

Being born and bred in the USA, I’m at a disadvantage when it comes to deeply understanding the culture and heritage of artists who live and create across an ocean, thousands of miles away. There are references, ideals, patterns of thought that are common to us all on one hand, yet unique to our friends across the pond on the other. However, music is the Universal Language. You don’t need the whole story to enjoy the story. You sit back, let it wash over you, and allow the storyteller to fill in the blanks.

“Thirty Five Years On Woodfield Street” has a relaxed, understated majesty, a calm assurance as the band weaves their tales. The spirit that runs through the album leads directly back to the Fairport Convention’s three seminal 1969 albums…“What We Did On Our Holidays”, “Unhalfbricking”, and “Liege & Lief.”

In simple terms, Fairport Convention were an “English Folk Band,” but they were so much more. Few bands combined intimacy, urgency, and melody with traditional British and Celtic influences in such a sublime manner. The influence of those three albums has sustained in the half century that followed. For proof of that, look no further than The Grief Brothers in 2019.

In the best tradition of British Folk Music, the tales are sly, ribald, sometimes languid, and rich in imagery. The instrumentation is largely acoustic guitars with bass and drums. The opener…“She’s been killing all her pain in a lost week in Bingoland…” is ample evidence of the “don’t ask questions, just strap yourself in and go for the ride” sense of adventure found here.

The humor and irony are on full display in tracks like “A Small Town Goes To Hell”…“People waiting here for nothing, it’s delivered every day…” When Richard Thompson pens a desolate and brilliant set of lyrics, it’s somewhat taken for granted because…well, he’s Richard Thompson. But when The Grief Brothers deliver an album as detailed and striking and mesmerizing as the best of Thompson’s work, you have to throw open the windows and make some noise so that music lovers all over the world hear about it…even across the pond.

Drunkards and braggarts, winners and losers, dreamers and n’er do wells…it’s the world we live in. The same sunny day shines on us all, regardless of our circumstances. This is a stunning work of art. Avail thee of it, posthaste.