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IN CONCERT

Who: The Brothers Comatose

When: Dec. 29 with David Luning, Dec. 30 with Coffis Brothers

Where: Mystic Theatre, 21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma

Tickets: $22 general admission, two-show pass $42

Information: (707) 765-2121, mystictheatre.com

For nearly a decade, The Brothers Comatose have honed their sound, a blend of high lonesome bluegrass, California dreamin’ and western jam band.

Formed by a pair of brothers — Alex and Ben Morrison, who were born and raised in Petaluma — the five-piece string ensemble approached perfection on last year’s album, “City Painted Gold.”

“The last recording, we hunkered down in the studio and spent a lot of time getting everything right,” said Ben Morrison, vocalist and guitarist for the band during a phone interview from his Oakland home.

For their recently released songs, the musicians took an alternate tack, going for a more spontaneous and live approach.

“This time around it’s been totally different,” he said. “Sometimes we’re still working out parts in the studio.”

Like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, a couple of bands they idolized in high school, The Brothers Comatose recorded their new songs on analog equipment.

“We recorded straight to 2-inch tape, so we didn’t have the luxury of going back and changing little things like you can with ProTools (digital sound editing software),” he said.

“It’s a really rudimentary approach. You get in there and bang it out, and you’re like, alright, this is what our band sounds like.”

The new Brothers Comatose album is slated for release next summer, but four of the songs, including the catchy “Don’t’ Make Me Get Up and Go,” have been published online and are available on a 10-inch vinyl EP called “Ink.”

The Brothers’ effusive and uplifting songs have drawn passionate fans to the their shows.

They started by playing just about any venue that offered them a stage, from Brixx restaurant in Petaluma to the now defunct Ace in the Hole cider pub near Sebastopol.

The Dec. 29 and 30 shows at Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre mark a homecoming for the local band.

“Every time we play in Petaluma it’s special,” Morrison said. “My parents still live in Petaluma, Gio (Benedetti, the bassist) still lives in Petaluma, and my brother Alex (banjo) lives in Petaluma.”

Rounding out the group: Philip Brezina on violin and Ryan Avellone on mandolin. The Brothers Comatose also play Dec. 28 at Santa Cruz’s Catalyst and New Year’s Eve at the Cornerstone in Berkeley.

This year saw the Brothers play the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park and do their own three-show “Horseback Tour” through the Sierra foothills near Auburn when the Brothers literally rode on horseback from show to show for a change of pace. It may have offered a break from traveling by van, but it wasn’t easy.

“It was insane; I had no idea how tough it would be,” Morrison said. “We were getting up super early and shooting (video) most of the day while riding to the gig.”

After the shows, “we had to ride back to our campsite in the dark with our headlamps on,” he said. “And then we got up the next day and did it all again. We were riding 10 or 20 miles. I’ve never been so tired at a gig my entire life.”

Thankfully, the musicians didn’t try to strap their instruments onto the horses.

IN CONCERT

Who: The Brothers Comatose

When: Dec. 29 with David Luning, Dec. 30 with Coffis Brothers

Where: Mystic Theatre, 21 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma

Tickets: $22 general admission, two-show pass $42

Information: (707) 765-2121, mystictheatre.com

“We thought about that, but an upright bass on the back of a horse, no way that’s going to work out.”

The equine trek, Morrison said, “turned into this Spinal Tap-esque sort of endeavor.”

Some of the footage, with the musicians in cowboy hats playing instruments atop their steeds, is in the video for the Brothers’ recent single, “Cedarwood Pines.”

Part of the reason for their success is that The Brothers Comatose is ultimate campfire band, playing the kind of music that makes you wistful one moment and dance the next.

Their videos celebrate the outdoors, with footage of mountains, rivers and lakes – and young, exuberant people, carefree and footloose.

“We all grew up in California, except our fiddle player, and have been into hiking and camping and river rafting,” Morrison said.

Some songs are more personal, such as the recently released “Get Me Home” about the challenges of being away for long tours, written by bassist Gio Benedetti who has a wife and two children.

It’s about staying true to your love back home while you’re out on the road,” Morrison said.

“It’s real, all the struggles. Trying to develop a relationship with somebody is really hard when you’re gone a lot, so you have to find ways to make it work.”

That theme is also addressed in the Brothers’ 2012 song, “Pie for Breakfast,” which has the lyric: “It’s been just one week since I held you in my arms. Minutes and hours have never felt so long.”

Morrison’s girlfriend, Erika Tietjen, is also in a popular Bay Area band, the T Sisters.

Being with another musician is “awesome most of the time,” Morrison said. But “sometimes she’ll be out on tour, and I’ll be coming home from tour which makes it hard. But it’s cool that she understands” what it means to be a traveling musician.

Morrison named the outfit The Brothers Comatose because “Alex’s eyes roll back into his head when he gets really into his banjo playing. It kind of looks like he’s in this weird coma.”

Their first tour of 2018 will be in China as part of the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program, which includes live performances and music education.

“We are going in January for three weeks and don’t even know where we’re playing yet,” Morrison said in early December. “We just know that we’re flying to Beijing.”

But he’s fine with that. For Morrison and the rest of the band, it’s all part of the adventure.

Michael Shapiro is author of “A Sense of Place.” He writes about travel and entertainment for national magazines and The Press Democrat.

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