The Malpass Brothers Interview
Retro Country Sensations
A wonderful album came across my desk recently: a collection of old country standards and gems performed by two brothers, Christopher and Taylor Malpass, on their self-titled album “The Malpass Brothers.” You can tell by the performances and arrangements that these songs were treated with the respect and dedication they deserve — especially when it comes to classic country songs like “Hello Walls,” “Begging To You,” and “Satan and the Saint,” which was written by The Louvin Brothers, Charlie and Ira.
The Malpass Brothers even used actual instruments owned by The Louvin Brothers while recording the album. Christopher and Taylor also proved they have excellent songwriting skills with original songs “Learn To Love Me Too” and “I Found Someone To Love.”
These brothers have “old souls” and a passion for recording classic country. Their music will appeal to the generations that remember these songs, and it will make the young, new fans come to appreciate the music of yesteryear.
The album was produced by Doyle Lawson, the legendary bluegrass juggernaut who said of the Malpass Brothers: “Timeless is when the past is the future and the future is the past. The Malpass Brothers’ sound is timeless. Listen! And you’ll see what I mean.”
You can hear The Malpass Brothers and find a link to their online store at their official site.
I spoke with Christopher about the album and its unique qualities:
Was it your intention to record these songs in a way to appeal to both new and old fans of the genre?
It was. Our main focus is to preserve this music and keep it alive. It’s for the people who remember the music, but it is also for the ones who were not lucky enough to be around when the songs were done originally. We just want to share this great music with the younger generation, so it is not lost between the cracks.
You guys captured these classic songs very well. Did it take a long time to record in the studio?
We really didn’t [laughs], we actually cut the album in about a week’s time. We just gave it all we had and [gave it the] respect that the songs deserve. I give a lot of credit to the band that performed on the album with my brother and me: Jeff Collins, David Johnson, Tim Surret, and Tony Creasman. And they all felt the songs and played with their raw emotion and talent and passion for the songs, and that is what really made the difference.
Now what really impresses me is that you guys were discovered by Merle Haggard, and Doyle Lawson produced this album. Seems like you have a lot of heavy hitters in your corner?
Yes, we were, yes sir. And Doyle Lawson to us is the Merle Haggard of Bluegrass. We have been very blessed. We were very huge Merle Haggard fans. I think what got Merle’s attention is that we are sincere about what we are doing. We stayed true to what we feel and love to do, and we opened one time for Merle, and he loved us and we performed with him for seven years, and we still do from time to time when our schedule permits. And through the bluegrass circuit we met Doyle Lawson, and I have never worked with a more honest or better person than Doyle Lawson. When it came to producing the album, it was like he and us were connected at the brain. His ideas were almost identical to the ideas we had, and it just worked perfect, and it was the most joyful recording session I have ever been in.
You guys are great songwriters in your own right as well, penning a couple of tunes on the album.
Well, thank you very much, we appreciate that. Doyle asked us if we had any originals, and we had a few we really wanted to put on this album, and we really hope the people will like the songs and enjoy what we do.
Do you consider yourself a Christian or a spiritual person?
I am a Christian. For a long time that’s all we did were churches. If you noticed we even put a Gospel song on the album, “Satan and The Saint.” The Louvin Brothers were pretty fire and brimestone.
Speaking of The Louvin Brothers. How did you guys get the opportunity to play their actual instruments on this album?
Doyle Lawson had one of Ira’s mandolins, and I, actually, about a year ago, purchased Charlie Louvin’s D28. And so we put the two great instruments on the album for The Louvin Brothers song, so that was a really great experience to get to do.