The Steel Drivers - Brother John PREV Unreleased Version (Featured APD track)
Gary Nichols and Barry Billings - MusicNutt Publishing (BMI)
“Brother John" is a modern take on a traditional mountain murder ballad, written by Gary Nichols. This is the first version that the SteelDrivers recorded for their 2013 release “Hammer Down”. At the time, it didn’t seem to fit the sequence for that project so the band re-recorded a version for “The Muscle Shoals Recordings” with Jason Isbell co-producing the track that appears on that album.
Obviously, murder ballads are still a mainstay in bluegrass songwriting. Asked why that remains true after all this time, Nichols doesn't hesitate."I think it's just that love gone wrong induces such rage in people, and there's so much cheating going on in the world anyway," he says, letting loose a wry laugh. "Sometimes it's just good for the listener to be able to kill their spouse in a song. They don't want to do it for real, so sometimes having that song can help them feel better." - Tammy Rogers, SteelDrivers