Album review: Lawrence, Where’s Your Knife?

Courtney Dickson, Contributor  Ω

Lawrence, Where’s Your Knife? — released in 2011 — is the Crooked Brothers’ second album. Recorded in a cabin in the band’s native province of Manitoba during the middle of winter, makes it tough to get the impression these guys aren’t dedicated to their craft.

Darwin Baker, Matt Foster and Jesse Matas make up this multi-talented trio. All three write, sing and play the music.

The first track was strategically chosen to engage listeners with a great beat and raspy vocals. Following that, the album slows down for more than 15 minutes during tracks two to five. If it weren’t for the poetic lyrics, it would be easy for listeners to check-out.

The sixth track, “Up the Mountain,” starts off with a banjo solo comparable to introductions of many contemporary country songs. Despite this, the vocals are anything but modern. Though the Crooked Brothers consider themselves primarily a roots and folk band, listeners could argue that classic country is a more appropriate way to describe the group’s genre.

“Good Man” is the big finale on this album and can be heard as nothing less. Johnny Cash himself would have been privileged to provide a voice for the lyrical genius and smooth harmonica that sets this song apart from the rest of the album.

The group is on a break after a summer of touring but will be making a few appearances in Manitoba, Alberta and the Yukon throughout the fall. Recently returned home from a tour in Europe, the band’s lyricism seeps onto its website as well; even updates from the tour are written in a poetic style.

Fans will appreciate the soul that went into this album, regardless of how they react to the genre. The passion these men have for music is palpable.