There were several things that made Sons of Fathers' debut one of the best Austin releases of 2011: substantial songwriting, uncommon harmonies, and sturdy musicianship. Onstage, those attributes remain abundant with an added advantage. Live, some of the studio polish gets sanded away to reveal gritty undercurrents and spunky, extended jams. Always smiling, the Sons – acoustic guitarist Paul Cauthen and stand-up bass player David Beck – lit into the country-rock hybrid from that debut with the slinky "Weather Balloons," retro do-wop blues of "Ruthless," and the menacing, eponymous title track especially effective. Dan Cohen, switching between guitar and mandolin, took the latter someplace not hinted at on the LP, with a crisp, extended solo. There were a couple of new tunes as well, pointing to the Sons' utmost confidence in their songwriting talents. Among the unrecorded songs, set closer "Big Diamond Waltz" showed a new path for the band, big Southern rock with Cohen leading the way on slide. Like the Band of Heathens, Sons of Fathers bring fresh blood and charismatic style to American music, not reinventing that wheel, just making sure it keeps on turning.
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