Fruitland Farmboys – Donnie & Joe Emerson

Donnie Emerson knows how to milk a cow. This Fruitland farmboy was destined to work on the land his mother and father had aquired and cultivated for a living. An outlook shared by his older brother Joe – while they both grew up into teen age in rural Washington state in the 1970s listening to soul music on the local KJRM radio station that soundtracked their farmland hours with the sons and daughters of Detroit, Philadelphia or L.A.. These singers spoke to them. They were named Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Daryl Hall and John Oates. Donnie and Joe felt included, and so spent every minute of their freetime honing their skills on guitars, keys and drums – the musical instruments that would let them communicate with the voices on the radio. That they showed determination in abundance provoked their understanding parents to sell many acres of their land to build a sound shack on the remainder and produce and manufacture an album’s worth of their sons’ songs – including “Baby” – a close encounter to Robinsons quiet storm bringer “Cruising” or Hall & Oates’ heart wrenching “She’s gone”. Nothing much came of it. No producer or label owner ever caught wind of the brothers. A later, misfired solo-album deal for Donnie ended in frustration. Leading into his moving to Spokane, marrying and the couple starting a sophomore career as  (wedding) singer/songwriters with an album of the year in Spain.

Decades later blog writer Jack Fleischer upon finding that long lost album in a nearby thrift store while grazing for overlooked music and abandoned art pieces inspired the good folks at Seattle based company Light In The Attic to start their usual detective workings. They encountered a bunch of humble country family folk where the proud parents had even kept the handmade stage outfits Joe and Donnie had fashioned for themselves with an eye on Elvis’ high collared 1968 comeback special suit – only theirs in all white nylon as opposed to the kings’ dangerous black leather.
So a lonely drop into the deep and wide sea of music had started a wave which took 33 years to reach the shorelines of future beaches. „Dreamin Wild“ was finally reassembled and transported to keen listeners worldwide – now deservedly resulting in the addition of a 2nd helping (“Still Dreamin’ Wild”) of their sweet and soulful power pop tunes – all tried, tested and recorded while waiting for that phone call that should have rocketed them up to pop olympia. I’m thinking the calibres of Todd Rundgren in his later Utopia years or Arif Mardin while looking for the new Bee Gees. To cut a long story short: their songs are so catchy and heartfelt, naive but never dull, that I would easily swop, say, the last Phoenix album for it. So don’t you waste no time and put them on rotation, switch the pocket stereo to „loudness“ and dig deep.


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