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Open Air Currents is a look at the new music we're discovering together on Open Air, JPR's house blend of eclectic contemporary music. Listen weekdays 9am-3pm on JPR's Rhythm & News Service.

Open Air Currents: The Brothers Reed, Old Crow Medicine Show, Tomberlin, The Coffis Brothers

This week, new music from a Southern Oregon favorite; a more mainstream release from a band that helped make Old Time music cool again; new folk from a singer/songwriter from Kentucky, and some roots rock from Santa Cruz.

The Brothers Reed – The Wheres and the Whatnots

Phil and Aaron Reed continue to hone their skills on their new completely self-released album The Wheres and the Whatnots. They play familial acoustic folk with sibling harmonies inviting comparisons to the Everly Brothers. Their songs tell relatable tales of the struggles and joys of everyday life. The casual attitude translates to their live shows. Their banter is what you’d expect to hear if you were hanging out with two brothers having a beer. By the way, if you’re having a beer with them, you may drinking the Brothers Reed inspired Reedankulous IPA from Pelican Brewery. The Wheres and the Whatnots shows The Brothers Reed in fine form as they grow as musicians and songwriters. They are playing throughout the region for the next several weeks. Information is available at thebrothersreed.com.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Paint This Town

Though now employing a bigger sound with a heavier backbeat than their earlier work, Old Crow Medicine Show hasn’t abandoned their traditional roots. Paint This Town has songs about small town America, and working class life in the American south. Rather than a glossy brochure of that culture, principle lyricist Kech Secor takes a more honest look at the darker parts of history and celebrates the diversity of the region. Deford Rides Again is a song about a legendary African American star of the Grand Ol’ Opry. On New Mississippi Flag, he suggests culturally significant figures who should be honored, “She'll have a diamond for Elvis, Eudora Welty lines, Railroad dust for the brakemen singing Blue Yodel #9. She'll have a stripe for Robert Johnson and one for Charlie Pride…” Other songs deal with the environment, opioid addiction and big pharma. Although they take on difficult subjects, Paint This Town isn’t preachy. It has an upbeat, fun sound invoking more of a party than a lecture. Old Crow Medicine Show’s tour brings them to the west coast this summer including a show in Jacksonville at the Britt Festival.

Tomberlin – i don’t know who needs to hear this…

Sarah Beth Tomberlin of Louisville, records and performs under the name Tomberlin. She plays dreamy folk with sparse instrumentation subtly layered with her quiet vocals. Her sound is what I like to call “wait for it music.” She doesn’t hit you with a big back beat that has you tapping your foot with a repeatable singalong chorus 30 seconds in. Instead, if you’re paying attention, you’ll find yourself immersed in a down tempo wash of intricate sound. Her songs are personal revelations and observations, a bit like Anna Tivel or Phoebe Bridgers- tending towards the melancholy without wallowing in it.

The Coffis Brothers – Turn My Radio Up

The sibling band The Coffis Brothers is from the Santa Cruz mountains. Kellen and Jamie Coffis and their band are carrying the torch of the California folk rock sound, with tight harmonies and a jangly groove complete with a Rickenbacker guitar for that signature sound. They’ll have you thinking of The Byrds and Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers in no time. They don’t shy away from those comparisons, even admitting they added some bigger harmonies at the end of Ramona because it already had a Traveling Wilburys vibe. The album was produced by Tim Bluhm. You may recognize him as the lead singer of Mother Hips, his work with the Grateful Dead side project The Rhythm Devils and from Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. He owns a recording studio with fellow bay area musician Jackie Greene. The songs on Turn Up My Radio are easy to hear and perfect for a long road trip on Highway 1 in California as you watch the coast go by. The Coffis Brothers will be at the Talent Club in Talent on Saturday night.

You can hear Open Air hosted by Dave Jackson and Danielle Kelly, weekdays 9am-3pm on the Rhythm and News Service of JPR.

Dave Jackson curates the music on JPR's Rhythm and News Service, manages music staff and hosts Open Air, JPR's hand-picked house blend of music. He loves discovering great new music and sharing it.