Hearing Aide: The DuPont Brothers ‘A Riddle for You’

The DuPont Brothers, a sibling duo from Burlington, VT, have the gift of being both poets and musicians, a rarity these days. It’s always refreshing to hear sibling duos, because you can sense the true bond felt between them. Whether they’re harmonizing or singing in unison, Sam and Zack hit every note head on and flawlessly, while at the same time giving each other the space to shine individually. Joined on their latest album by several Burlington-based stars, A Riddle for You showcases just what this corner of the world has to offer in the way of talent.

While guitars are the most prominent instrument on this album, interjections from the occasional fiddle, banjo and pedal steel are certainly welcome throughout. The musical influences of Neil Young come through strongly, perhaps most obviously on “Trespassers,” which sounds a lot like “Harvest Moon,” while hints of the musical stylings of Ray LaMontagne can be heard on songs such as “The Arbor.” Then there are songs like “The Positives of Ten Degrees” that offer a more unique and individual style, while staying true to the folk element that seems to prevalent to varying degrees.

In terms of the vocals, each brother has his own distinctive and divine voice, both being particularly easy on the ears. Zack’s strong vocals seem to come effortlessly, giving the sense that he must share his voice and music-writing talents with the world. With Sam taking over the vocal leads on the album’s fourth song, “Ben’s Song,” one can sense a heavy vocal influence from Nick Drake, with an almost otherworldly tone.

It would be fair to say that this album would be perfect for a stay-at-home date night, having it playing in the background, while eating a romantic dinner, providing background music during periods of conversation with its mellow under-spoken tone and intelligent lyrics to ponder upon during moments of silence. A Riddle For You has a way of really tugging on your heartstrings, having the quality of sounding familiar while at the same time offering a fresh twist on traditional folk music. The DuPont Brothers’ second album will be available in stores this June, so be sure to pick up a copy.

Key Tracks: Something to Write About, The Positives of Ten Degrees, Fuse