Staff Pick: The Slide Brothers with The Howlin’ Brothers keep old music forms vital

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From the July 25, 2013 edition

There’ll be bros upon bros Thursday at Woodlands, but the old-fashioned kind, not the hair-gelled kind.

On the one hand, you’ve got The Slide Brothers, the Robert Randolph-sponsored, generation-spanning quartet of lap steel masters Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell and Aubrey Ghent. Their take on blues is old-school, but never tired or trapped in amber.

Before that bunch performs, gracing the stage will be The Howlin’ Brothers (pictured), a Brendan Benson-produced string band whose speedy bluegrass and country ought to appeal to genre purists and Punch Brothers fans alike.

Blues and country ought to be completely bled dry by now, but old forms feel vital when executed with craft and passion. Those roots ain’t sapped just yet.