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Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin

Kane Welch Kaplin – 2007 (Compass)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin

Surely it wouldn't be possible for a trio that few have yet to admit is really a group to follow up last year's nearly perfect "Lost John Dean" with another equally good gem. But that's just what this third release from Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin accomplished.

The disc has a bit more of a contemporary feel that the previous outing, which sounded as if it would have been at home as a companion disc to "O Brother, Where Art Thou." Not that there's a bigger or more complex feel to these 12 tunes, but the instrumentation is less a bluegrass blueprint this time.

Both Kane and Welch are accomplished writers and singers. This grouping has actually helped Kane strip his compositions down to the best elements. Kane demonstrates that on an uptempo lid-lifter: "My worries keep callin'/They won't let me rest/I'm tired of fightin' but I can't give in/If I lose this struggle/If this time I fall/I surely will see the end of my rope/I ain't gonna do it/I ain't gonna fall/I ain't gonna do it/That's all."

Kaplin provides the biggest instrumental thread that holds the music together, making it feel like a unified product. Add the drum work of Kane's son Lucas, and you have cohesiveness that condenses multiple artistic viewpoints and comes out as single-minded purpose.