Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beagle Brothers Bark Up a New Tree

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beagle Brothers Bark Up a New Tree

Article excerpt

The last time out, the Beagle Brothers made a case for their neighborhood as the little Nashville of Pittsburgh with "Architects of the Bloomfield Sound."

Two years later, the twangy country band -- which harks back to the days of Bob Wills, Hank Williams and Buck Owens -- has emerged from the studio looking west with "Dancers of the Drunken Two- Step."

"We've been referring to 'Dancers' as our California record," steel guitarist Read Connolly says. "We took a trip to California about two years ago, where we visited Bakersfield, the home of Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam, and stayed in Joshua Tree, specifically in the room at the Joshua Tree Inn where Gram Parsons died. Other than the spiritual/existential influences, you can imagine what a trip in the desert might bring, it was also a bonding experience for everyone with our country heroes."

The Beagles -- singer-guitarists Noah and Gabriel Smith, bassist Kyle Kline, guitarists Jeff Ritter, Sam Cooper and Mr. Connolly -- rollick and twang through 14 tracks, including "I Found Heaven in a Gram Parsons Song," "Sunny Californee" and "Dakota the Dancing Bear Part 3," a sequel to Kris Kristofferson's "Dakota (The Dancing Bear)" and David Allen Coe's long narrative "Dakota the Dancing Bear, Part II."

The Californee sound extends to the Beach Boys-style harmonies that appear on "Waimea Bay" and "My Other Car's a Hot Rod," songs contributed by Mr. Cooper.

"Sam wrote these songs with the big harmonies already in mind, pushing us to expand our normal two-part harmonies. Dino [DiStefano, the producer] also happens to have a hell of an ear, both for recording and for fixing what we record. Their influence pushed those songs, and the album overall, to places we never would have attempted on our own."

Capturing those harmonies and all those flowing guitars was a lot easier this time, as they weren't trying to do it in the Smith living room. …

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