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Kevin Sekhani

Day Ain't Done – 2015 (Louisiana Red Hot)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Kevin Sekhani

Much like a bowl of classic Creole gumbo, the music of Kevin Sekhani is composed of a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Boasting flavors that draw from warm Texas-based swing and country, spicy Cajun zydeco and smoky blues, Sekhani's "Day Ain't Done" delivers a musical dish that will have listeners asking for second helpings.

The diversity is a natural outflow of the artist's life, having spent over 20 years in the Austin music scene before returning to his native home of Lafayette, La. to front The Mercy Brothers, a "Holy Ghost Honkytonk" gospel outfit that finely toed the line between sinner and saint. Now Sekhani continues his development, stepping out solo to deliver his rich and engaging tales of life.

Notable help comes from some longtime friends of Sekhani's, with Michael Ramos (Patty Griffin) delivering rich accordion fills, Andrew Duplantis (Son Volt) stepping in on bass and backing vocals, and acclaimed fiddler Warren Hood offering up his signature sound throughout. And while these and more help to frame Sekhani's soundscape, the burden to succeed is ultimately on him, and he rises to the challenge.

The album boasts such great tracks as the zydeco flavored title track, the artist's roots at full bore with warm, accessible vocals and Ramos' insistent accordion while "Carol Ann" boasts a touch of Texas country, Sekhani's quieter registers reminiscent of Shooter Jennings. "Wrong Direction" oozes with bluesy soul and Michael Lamendola's able percussion work pressing things forward as "Oilfield Tan" recalls a folksy Steve Earle.

"Jump Right Back" lets the musicians shine, the warm acoustic vibes resonant with Sekhani's vocals providing the perfect accent before the barroom sway of "Ballad of a Lonely Clown" sweeps in with its two-step wandering. Good ole' road trip country takes center stage on "The Higher I Get" while "Walk Away From Me" arrives as one of the few missteps, the production notes a bit muddled and leaving the track wanting. "Burial Ground" is a return to form with its percussion-driven arrangement, and "Summer Street" serves as a solid mid tempo closer, Sekhani's multiple textures coming together in harmony to end on a high note.

Blending sonic colors across a number of genres, Kevin Sekhani taps into his years of experience and, with a little help from his friends, delivers a strong solo outing on "Day Ain't Done."