The Mixus Brothers, purveyors of homespun country tunes, recently released the third and final chapter of their Lonesome Gods series.
The four-song album contains fiddle-driven hoedowns, trumpet-assisted ballads, and quivering waltzes, the two Mixus Bros (backed by a small supporting cast) packing an impressive amount of variety into a short runtime. Closing track “The High Lonesome” acts as a capstone for the entire Lonesome Gods project, paying tribute to the phrase (allegedly) coined by John Cohen to describe the great Roscoe Holcomb, now used as a catch-all for the primal bluegrass sound that makes a listener’s hair stand on end when heard. While the Mixus Bros’ subdued, high-low vocal harmonies differ from the yawps and caterwauls of artists past, the songs featured on Lonesome Gods tap into country music’s mythical essence to convey that alien sense of remove and isolation from society. “The High Lonesome”s verses, led by acoustic strums and bleary slide guitar, resemble a Neutral Milk Hotel deep cut, while the chorus is all ascending melodies and and sun-rising-over-the-meadow synths. The boys sing of gods who “don’t care if they’re lonesome […] don’t care if they’re blue,” invoking the spirits of country music as the ancient poets did the muses. It’s an appropriately haunting end to an ambitious project, one that positions itself outside of time and place.