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Watkins Family Hour: Brother Sister review – a model of sibling harmony | Music

California’s Sean and Sara Watkins are akin to royalty in American folk circles, firstly as founding members of the hugely successful Nickel Creek, and secondly as hosts of an 18-year residency at LA’s Largo club, where they perform alongside invited guests. Brother Sister draws on both strands of their history. Like its self-titled 2015 predecessor, the album sets aside the pizzazz of Nickel Creek for a down-home approach, but instead of boisterous, star-studded cover versions come five original songs and a minimal musical palette.

Alternating on lead, the pair’s vocals remain a model of sibling harmony, while the interplay between Sean’s intricate guitar picking and Sara’s elegant fiddle is similarly impressive – the breakneck bluegrass instrumental Bella and Ivan is a case in point. Mostly, however, the mood is reflective. Lafayette and Miles of Desert Sand chronicle the search for a better life, and Fake Badge, Real Gun is an artful snipe at Trump – “Throw your tantrums but the truth will be waiting”. Warren Zevon’s forlorn Accidentally Like a Martyr fits in neatly, while Charley Jordan’s ribald Keep It Clean is a gleeful example of a Largo session.

Watch the video for Fake Badge, Real Gun by Watkins Family Hour

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