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Cover Artistry

The Brothers Comatose tour in support of their latest EP, "The Covers, Vol. 2."

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ell, I'm going to go make myself a cup of coffee and talk to you while I'm doing it," The Brothers Comatose lead vocalist Ben Morrison says as I begin asking questions during our phone interview.

Morrison started The Brothers Comatose in San Francisco with his brother, Alex, creating a string band that blends rock, folk and Americana rhythms. Currently, the band is touring in support of its last EP, "The Covers, Vol 2."

No stranger to covers, The Brothers Comatose included a string version of Amy Winehouse's "Valerie" on their latest full-length album, "City Painted Gold." On "The Covers, Vol. 2," the brothers take on "Too Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)" originally by Ryan Adams, "Stickshifts and Safetybelts" originally by CAKE, "I Want a New Drug" originally by Huey Lewis and The News and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" by Hank Williams.

"They're all songs that we have played in the past and enjoyed and they just kind of came about for different reasons," Morrison says of the song choices. "Mostly, they all just started with songs that we wanted to learn and sing around a campfire."

For the Huey Lewis cover, the band put out a request to the man himself to join them on stage at a concert. The band wasn't able to connect on stage with Lewis, but say they were in touch and he loved their version of the song.

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"We're kind of experimenting with some different sounds, but we're also keeping the same string band vibe," Morrison says of the band's forthcoming new album. "There are a couple surprises in there that no one's ever heard before, from super rocky to really mellow."

— Ben Morrison

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f you take it and add your own little spin on it, I think that's what makes a good cover," Morrison says. "If you heard it without knowing it's a cover, you know, thinking that it fits the band's style really nicely, then I think that it works great."

When I asked Morrison who he would like to hear cover one of their songs, he confesses wanting to hear more rock and roll versions, citing Queens of the Stone Age as one he'd like to hear. Another would be a swinging, soulful version from Lake Street Dive. He'd like to hear them taken out of their style just a bit.

"You know, I love hearing different interpretations of different songs," Morrison says. "We heard, recently, this high school bluegrass band do a cover of one of our songs, and I thought it was just one of the coolest things in the world. And it's different, and they added some cool pieces to it that I never would have thought to put in it, it's so awesome. I was like, we should totally do that in our version of the song. I appreciated the artistry behind it."

The band, known for its approachable and honest songs, isn't only playing and recording covers. The Brothers Comatose already have six songs recorded, with five to six more in the works. They plan to release three four-song EPs and then package them to form one album. This time around, the band is working with producer John Vanderslice. It's the first time they've given up control to anyone outside the band.

"We're kind of experimenting with some different sounds, but we're also keeping the same string band vibe," Morrison says of the band's forthcoming new album. "There are a couple surprises in there that no one's ever heard before, from super rocky to really mellow."

And in case you were wondering, Morrison takes his coffee with a scoop of coconut oil and a splash of cream.

The Brothers Comatose at Munch and Music

Thursday, July 27. 5:30pm.

Drake Park

777 NW Riverside Blvd., Bend.

No cover.


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