ACL Live Shot: Peterson Brothers

Bastrop blues siblings got their mojo workin’

Dynamic duo: Glenn (left) and Alex Peterson
Dynamic duo: Glenn (left) and Alex Peterson
photo by Jana Birchum

It seems impossible, but the Peterson Brothers have been performing together since 2009. Impossible only because bass-playing Alex is just 14 and guitarist/lead vocalist Glenn Jr. recently turned 17.

Not only that, but the reverence they pay to the blues and the artists they choose to cover – Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, and Albert King, among others – makes the Petersons downright implausible.

Austin remains a blues-loving town, and the young brothers from down the road in Bastrop hit an itch that continually needs scratching. This year’s winners of the Best Under 18 Band at the Austin Music Awards showed an adoring crowd how, and why, they won.

Glenn takes his guitar playing cues from folks like Albert Collins and Hubert Sumlin, melding them with classic rock guitarists like Duane Allman, Robert Cray, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The sound’s pleasing yet surprisingly adventurous. His vocals are equally mature, lending a smokey soul resonance to classic blues workouts “Don’t You Lie To Me” and “I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog.”

Celebrating a new endorsement deal with Fender Guitars as well as having the City of Austin name October 3 Peterson Brothers’ Day, they appeared supremely confident. The controlled chaos of set closer “Got My Mojo Working” led to a rare ACL Fest encore, an equally crowd-pleasing deconstruction of Freddie King’s “Hide Away.” While most of today’s blues seems tired and worn, as long as youngsters like the Petersons keep the flame burning, the genre will never die.

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