Good ‘ole country (video 2:31)

Good ‘ole country (video 2:31)
Good ‘ole country (video 2:31)
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Roots country/Americana band The Malpass Brothers brought their brand of country to In Your Ear studios Thursday night for JAMinc’s latest house concert. The show featured their take on the Louvin Brothers, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins and even a couple of Elvis tunes – complete with hip shaking by singer/guitarist Chris Malpass.

 

When you see their show or talk with them, you know they’re committed to keeping old-school “real” country alive. Think Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Marty Stewart, Doc Watson, Rhonda Vincent – all whom the brothers have either opened for or toured with. “Merle Haggard was very good to us.”

 

The brothers started playing at an early age and both still have day jobs – Chris a carpenter and Taylor (“Tater” to Chris) a farmer in their hometown, Goldsboro, N.C. Their steel guitar player, Clyde Mattocks, has been with them from “day one” and the brothers credit him with turning them on to the Louvin Brothers. “It’s what got us started doing the brother stuff,” says Taylor (vocals and strings). That was about 16 years ago. Their dad, Christopher, Sr., plays electric hollow-body bass and generally just stands back and lets his sons shine. Denis Daniels rounds out the group on percussion.

 

When they go on tours, sticking to those deep country roots has worked out OK for the most part. Chris feels that even non-country fans can enjoy their music because, “It’s real and everybody can relate to it…anything that’s real breaks those barriers. And people today are hungry for real.“ Taylor says he has no interest in playing “modern” country like you hear on the radio, not even for a million dollars. Chris totally agrees.

 

 

Band3Their on-stage presence has a lot to do with their success. They look and act the part. Chris handles most of the talking, while Taylor adds bits of comic relief, “I wanted to be a comedian, but everybody laughed at me.” Even Clyde gets in the act, voicing his displeasure for having to play an Elvis number, “Elvis ruined country!” But it really is all in good fun and the capacity crowd ate it up. The Malpass Brothers were the main course for an evening that began with a pot luck dinner.

 

There are 2 new CDs on the way, both being produced by the legendary Doyle Lawson. Chris says Lawson has taken them under his wing and truly believes the brothers have a future doing this. To that the brothers agree. “We don’t really want to be rich, but we’d love to be able to just do music and travel around to small theaters and keep this kind of music alive.” Mission very definitely accomplished Thursday night.

 

Just a note about the great work JAMinc does taking their featured performers out to local schools. To date, according to board member Wally Thulin, over 65,000 area kids have had their minds, hearts and ears opened to the possibilities of music.

 

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Robbin Thompson update:

Robbin’s wife reported that his cancer-related surgery went well, but he would be in a lot of pain a few days. Sunday, Robbin posted on Facebook:  “just a note to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. i’m doin’ pretty good up here. not quite ready for a selfie but i did get a really good shower with the help of nurse anne marie today.”

 

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