#97 – Hey Brother


Artist – Avicii
Album – True
Year – 2013
Genre – Dance/House

It’s always good when a traditionally defined artist mixes things up. Swedish DJ Avicii has been praised for his ability to crank out house jams that light up the dance floor like no one else, and that’s a good thing. This song sort of falls in line. Sort of. In this song, and many other songs off this album, Avicii takes that house sensibility and fuses it with bluegrass and soul music. Yes, you heard correctly. Growing up in a bluegrass household, this song caught me off guard and really stood out among the other dance songs on the radio. It’s unique, and that’s rule number one if you want to stand out.

You know the song is going to be different when it starts with acoustic guitar. That, overlaid with bluegrass singer Dan Tyminski’s voice is how the song sets the tone. His voice is clear and ringing, and the harmonies found in each verse sound great, and totally bluegrass. In reality, Tyminski carries the song on his shoulders, and his voice is the highlight of the song. This is nowhere more evident than in the chorus, where his soaring harmonies pierce the rest of the instruments. The melody in both verse and chorus are super catchy, as to be expected from a dance song.

Avicii’s place is certainly not forgotten in this song. He takes a subtle approach during verses and lets the guitar and drum carry Tyminski along, but when the chorus hits, he unleashes the house beats that he is oh so famous for. At this point you’ll forget about the song’s bluegrass nature, and you’ll be dancing right along with the thudding bass and the trumpet effects that are nice little retro homage.

I really like the lyrics to this song too, and if you really listen to them while you watch the video I posted above, it’s actually quite moving. That bluegrass spirit is a part of American history, and so is the spirit of community and kinship. It’s those spirits that combine in the words of this song, which speak of always looking out not just for family, but for the family we find in our friends and neighbors everywhere.

Sometimes unlikely combinations just work. This is one of those times. You can dance to it. You can sing to it. You can strum a banjo to it. You can scratch a record to it. Is it worth it? Hell yes.

Thanks for reading, and if you liked this review, be sure to leave a like or a comment. Also, I’d love it if you could hit that follow button and share this with the world. Well, maybe your friends, but the world too.

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