If you’re recording an album, it doesn’t hurt to have a few friends in Music City.
The Haines Bros have more than a few of those.
On Friday’s Highway, brothers Lowell, Douglas and Terry Haines crafted a record stuffed to the gills with music reminiscent of 70s folk, country rock and acoustic ballads that finds a comfortable home in today’s Americana genre. And they got a little help from Nashville session stalwarts Phil Madeira, David Mansfield, Vince Gill, Byron House, Bryan Owings and many others.
The Haines Bros each have their own distinct style. As a result, this record covers an awful lot of sonic territory.
Big brother Lowell sings with the sort of throaty baritone that ruled country music through the 90s (“Friday’s Highway,” “Cleveland”). Douglas has a more delicate delivery: soothing voice and finger-picked acoustic guitar (“Sweet Eyes,” “Leslie’s Lullaby”), a la Cat Stevens. Youngest brother Terry tends to sing in a higher register, evoking the sort of easy listening folk rock (“Foolish Again,” “Dream Come True”) reminiscent CSNY, The Eagles and America.
In addition to the songs written and sung by The Haines Bros, Alex Moir contributed “The Rustler,” a tip of the cap to the American cowboy, sung with his John-Denver-meets-Neil-Young falsetto. Medeira added on “Just Another Way,” and Alan Moore closes the album with “It Clearly Calls Me Back,” a standout country rocker.
With all these cooks in the kitchen, this record could’ve been a disjointed mess, but that is not at all the case. A unifying thread of nostalgia runs through Friday’s Highway – pondering what could’ve been and celebrating what was. Back in the 70s, the Haines Bros cut their teeth touring the Midwest (and making friends with many of the guys on this record).
Echoes of those road dog days and the experiences that followed permeate Friday’s Highway. They’re in the rich vocal harmonies, the lonesome pedal steel swells, the rollicking electric guitar licks, and everything else.
Friday’s Highway is a fantastic album. Lyrics are thoughtful and introspective, the musicianship is top-notch and the production value is magnificent. The album will be available in early December, just in time for Christmas.