Missing in (recording) action for five years, Kevin Gordon is back, and we're all the better for it. "O Come Look at the Burning" continues the soulful andbluesy country swamp rock vibe that Gordon, a Louisiana native, explored on "Cadillac Jack's No. 1 Son" and "Down to the Well."
Gordon took a "raw and greasy" approach on the new album that works, recording it live on 15 tracks of an old 16-track tape machine with mostly original tracking vocals used. With on-the-money backing players on hand like drummer Paul Griffth, the tactic serves Gordon's rootsy music perfectly and also enhances his vivid, detail-rich songwriting. Songs like the funky "Casino Road" and the scorching opening track, "Watching the Sun Go Down," come off road-worn and ready. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Gordon can always be counted on to deliver thoughtful and engrossing stories and character sketches and he does so here on standouts such as "Joe Light" and the gospel-flavored "Flowers." Gordon does right a pair of rousing covers, Little Walter's "Crazy Mixed Up World" and Eddie Hinton's "Something Heavy."
This is a most welcome return. Let's just hope another half decade doesn't pass before Gordon returns to the studio again. (Kevin Gordon)