After his departure from the Byrds in the mid-'60s, late Americana icon Gram Parsons envisioned "Cosmic American Music," a savory stew of traditional country with flavors of rock 'n' roll, Southern soul/R&B, and gospel. Though some bands striving to follow in GP's boot prints get the country-twang aspect, too many forget the "soul" — literally and figuratively. The Hacienda Brothers, perhaps more than anyone ('cept maybe Shelby Lynne at her best), pick up where Parsons left off. Growing from the duo of Chris Gaffney (out of the Dave Alvin/L.A. roots-rock orbit) and Dave Gonzales (from the tuff blues-rocking Paladins), the Hacienda boys mix honky-tonk angst ("Mental Revenge") with rhythm and blues that's yearning and bittersweet (covering the Intruders' classic "Cowboys to Girls") and boisterously strutting (the Box Tops' "Cry Like A Baby"). There were always points of overlap between country and soul (Al Green, Wynonna Judd), and the Brothers till that ground and beyond. So if you treasure singers like George Jones and Solomon Burke, Dolly Parton and Mavis Staples, and like when the Stones play country tunes, the Hacienda Brothers are your meat (or tofu, for our veggie brethren).
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