Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
WOW! I cannot get over how extraordinary this is. Quite extraordinary, indeed. This is a time machine back to 1970 and 1971 when music was truly integrated. Soul artists and rock and roll artists not only were fans of each other, they collaborated as well. The point I am trying to make is that this is a stunning throw back to a bygone era when music was as much a science as it was an art. The Teskey Brothers not only adhere to this ethos, they have it tattooed on their forearms.
In other words, they walk the walk. These guys actually understand the blues and R&B from the ’60s and ’70s. They may be from Australia, but geographic barriers do not apply here. The Teskeys & the band understand American blues better than most Americans these days. These guys must have lived this music 24/7 for years. Clearly , this is not a put on, these boys are legit.
If you music connoisseurs are fans of Otis Redding and The Allman Brothers, you will be devotees of Half Mile Harvest. Some songs are very close to the Otis Redding stylings, other songs are more akin to The Allman Brothers, and other songs seem to be a subset of both. This is meant as a guide only to point out similarities to give people an understanding of what the music sounds like. Let it be known that this music is still very much original, but draws on music from an era when music was pure.
I would like to break down the Otis influenced tracks, the Allman influenced tracks, and the intersection of both. So here goes: Crying Shame (Track 1), Pain And Misery (Track 3), Reason Why? (Track 5), and Hard Feeling (Track 9) are right out of the Otis Redding playbook. I Love A Woman (Track 2) and Love Her With A Feeling (Track 9) are 24 karat Allman, in its purest form. If you like a hybrid, Honeymoon (Track 10) is equal parts Redding and Allman. Make no mistake, this is one fine fucking album and should be played loud.
So let’s dive right into Honeymoon (Track 10). This song is a 12 minute rock and roll saga. I admit, 12 minutes seems like a long time and also opens the door for some serious self indulgent nonsense. The door never opened and no self indulgent shenanigans were present during the making of this epic. This is not self indulgent, this is 130 proof music. It doesn’t take long to get hooked. Also, a very nice psychedelic and spacey outro. A little Miles Davis.
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I stated that if one wanted a break from Otis, Duane, and Greg, they could turn to Shiny Moon (Track 4). This song is pure Louisiana swamp boogie. It contains some seriously hypnotic and bone chilling slide guitar. These guitar licks are full of maximum feeling. And then the vocals kick in. Pure beauty. Shiny Moon is a bit haunting and deals with the unknown.
Let’s find out a little more about the brothers and the band. The Teskey Brothers are the following: Josh Teskey on lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and harmonica; Sam Teskey on lead guitar and backing vocals; Brendon Love on bass, backing vocals, percussion, and guitar; Liam Gough on drums and percussion; Nathaniel Sametz on trombone; and, Reuben Lewis on trumpet.
This is a late entry but is a very strong contender for one of the best of spots for 2017. These young men know exactly what to do when it comes to recording and playing. These guys are pros. The only negative is, they are in Australia and too far away from the states for a gig. Hopefully, that will change is short order. If not, I have Half Mile Harvest to keep me happy.