The Ahern Brothers – comprising established touring partners Steve Grady and Josh Rennie-Hynes – came together in the midst of a patently inspirational overland trip along the US West Coast in 2016 (look no further than the maple leaves of autumnal dying song ‘Bury Me Here’). Recorded without overdubs, the pair’s self-titled debut is a master class in timeless country-folk songwriting, haunting vocal harmonies, and cowboy chords alternating with delicate fingerpicking. It’s an album of exquisite quality from leisured lead single and album opener ‘Comb That River’ to sweetly sad closer ‘Our Last Day’. Rambling freely from the dustbowl to Appalachia, Rennie-Hynes and Grady traverse ample hallowed folk ground with fluidic ease. ‘Today’s the First Time’ most clearly recalls touchstones including Simon & Garfunkel and Nilsson, while ‘Years On the Run’ is suggestive of nothing so much as the Louvin Brothers. Poised and dreamy, The Ahern Brothers sets a new benchmark for Australian acoustica. Gareth Hipwell.