Why It's Raining (self-released)

The Brothers Green 

Why It's Raining (self-released)

Sterling Brown, singer for this Kansas City jam-funk-blues group, is a big man, with a big, classy, Albert King-sized voice. He's a showman, too — one moment scrunching shut his eyes, baring his teeth and sending his soul out through the PA; the next, getting all wiggly in front of the drums while the other Brothers Green rattle across a rapid funk groove. At the end of the Battlerusa gig at the Beaumont on February 8, he even ripped two of his dreadlocks out of his head and offered them to the crowd. Honestly, that was a little ridiculous, but it must have worked — following their performance at this band battle, the Brothers Green were selected as the group to rep KC onstage at Wakarusa. Congratulations, Bros.

It's kind of a shame, however, that other than Brown's considerable pipes, little of the band's live talent is captured on Why It's Raining, which suffers from a glut of instrumental passages and, above all, ass-poor production. Pat O'Connor is a talented guitarist, striking dissonant open jazz chords and rattling off blues solos that Brown (when he gets to sing — or rap) licks up like honey. The trouble is, they're mostly the same chords and licks and the exact guitar tone you'll hear on just about any Stevie Ray Vaughan album. He even plays on the same style Stratocaster as SRV. Still, he has more chops than a Polish butcher and plays a mean tenor sax, too. The band's weakness is that — though it occasionally reaches awesome peaks — it spreads jam all over the place. Bassist Mark Gawron seems more interested in playing fancy chords on his five-string than holding down a groove. O'Connor can't sit still, either. As a result, drummer Garth Highland has to lock in and hope that the others wander back to the beat. The Brothers have beaucoup potential and plenty of soul in Sterling Brown. But they need to seriously tighten up before they can hit those psychedelic acid-funk highs they're aiming for.

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