Kimbrough finds "Seaside Love"
Monday, November 18, 2013
– Americana artist Will Kimbough will drop "Sideshow Love" on Feb. 18, 2014.
"A good album really should be like a volume of short stories," Kimbrough said. "It should have a beginning and an end, and what happens in between is up for grabs, as long as it fits the theme. The idea of this album is that everybody wants somebody to love and somebody to love them, and what you get when you find that is a lot of responsibility. If it's going to succeed, you've got to work it out over the long haul."
Kimbrough anchored the disc on Home Economics, a cynical, tongue-in-cheek take on the differences between men and women inspired by a friend's divorce. The tune employs a 1920s New Orleans string band jazz sound conjured by Kimbrough's banjo and slide guitar and Paul Griffith's dusty snare drum. Lisa Oliver Gray, who completes the album's core trio, adds her voice.
"When I wrote that song I knew that I really had something. It felt like an album could be built around it," Kimbrough said. "So I started going through the 50 or 60 songs I'd written over the past few years and began pulling together the ones that seemed to fit."
Kimbrough had accumulated those songs while playing guitar in Emmylou Harris' band. "The songs I was culling combined elements of blues and country, and there was a vein of soul music running through a lot of them, which all made sense to me, because I've always been eclectic and I enjoy those styles a lot. Between that music and The Beatles is where I usually gravitate."
"I didn't want these stories to have an unhappy ending, so I chose 'Emotion Sickness' as the last tune," Kimbrough relates. It's a country song with a strong soul feel conjured by the gentle tremolo of Kimbrough's electric guitar, an airy arrangement and a molasses pace that underscores the promise of heartbreak's passing.
Kimbrough produced and recorded most of the album in his home studio, which he's primarily used for demos in the past. He played acoustic and electric guitars, banjo and mandolin. In addition to kit drums, Griffith added Indian clay pot to Let the Big World Spin, a riff-mad blues about lust and sex. Griffith is a frequent collaborator of Kimbrough's who has played on all of his albums since 2006's "Americanitis" and a fellow member of the band DADDY. He has also joined Kimbrough on stage or in the studio with Harris, Snider and many others.
Kimbrough released "Wings" about four years ago. He spent most of the time since early 2011 traveling with Harris. Kimbrough has also provided plenty of self- and co-penned cuts for a list of artists that includes Little Feat, Jack Ingram and a dozen numbers cut by Jimmy Buffett.
"To have an ongoing relationship at that level in this business is really a gift," Kimbrough said.
"I've learned a lot about how to conduct myself in front of an audience," Kimbrough said. "I've seen stars backstage totally freaked out about not knowing the lyrics to a song, and then step into the spotlight looking totally cool and collected. You've got to take away the fear. And Rodney taught me that you've got to write every day - even on the days when you can't sit down in a room by yourself with a note pad for three hours. You've got to keep your eyes and ears open 24/7, and when something interesting happens or gets said, write it down. I try to write a song first thing every morning, just to keep my chops up."
He traces the beginning of his rich and varied career back to his 12th birthday, in 1976 when his parents bought him a $20 electric guitar and amp and a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" tour at the local theater in his native Mobile, Ala.
"That was a big deal, because my mom and dad had spent $32.50 on my presents, which was a lot for them, and from that day on I've never had a job except for playing guitar and writing songs," Kimbrough says. "They probably figure that was the best or worst $32.50 they every spent."
In the early '80s Kimbrough moved to Nashville with his first original band, Will and the Bushmen, and was quickly signed to a major label deal. "We were swallowed up and passed out the other side," he said, chuckling. Next came the Bis-quits, with fellow songwriting kingpin Tommy Womack.
Kimbrough met Todd Snider on the same night the Bis-quits signed their record deal. They quickly became co-writers and musical compadres. Their collaboration has yielded a host of songs and two Kimbrough-produced Snider albums, "East Nashville Skyline" and "The Devil You Know."
Kimbrough began his string of solo albums with "This," released in 2000. Since then he's formed another band with Womack, DADDY, that's cut two albums.
Kimbrough's recently added another band to his resume. Willie Sugarcapps, an aggregation of all-star indie songwriters that also features Grayson Capps, Corky Hughes, and Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee of the duo Sugarcane Jane, was formed last year after a particularly fertile meeting at a songwriter's night at the Frog Pond in Silverhill, Ala. The group released a self-titled debut album in August.
"I have a lot going on and I work really hard, and I value the time I have with my family," Kimbrough said. "But I think that if I worked in an office at a day job somewhere I'd work just as hard at that. So when it comes to taking on new projects like Willie Sugarcapps or playing with artists of the stature of Emmylou or working on new projects with Todd, I consider all of those things opportunities - to write new songs, to grow, to make new albums. That's all I've ever wanted to do."
More news for Will Kimbrough
CD reviews for Will Kimbrough
Will Kimbrough's been around a long time, with his early band Will & the Bushmen signed to a short-lived major label contract and his tenure in the Bis-Quits with Tommy Womack a notable footnote, but despite extensive credits as an artist he's still mostly lauded for his production, songwriting and sideman roles for others including Todd Snider and Jimmy Buffett. The Willie Sugarcapps ad hoc collective he formed with Grayson Capps and other Alabama natives released a great rootsy album »»»
On his fifth solo effort, Will Kimbrough succeeds with a simple, but soulful approach that is as engaging as it is quietly low-key. An in-demand songwriter, he has plenty of nuggets on "Wings" that will likely attract the interest of other performers. The title track was co-penned by Jimmy Buffett, who includes his version of the song on his latest effort along with two other Kimbrough co-writes and Daddy's Nobody from Nowhere.
Kimbrough has indicated his novel intention »»»
Will Kimbrough is one of Nashville's best-kept secrets. An in-demand guitarist who has worked with folks like Rodney Crowell, Jimmy Buffet and Todd Snider, the Americana Music Association chose Kimbrough as "2004 Instrumentalist of the Year." The biggest secret, however, isn't Kimbrough's talents as a musician (which are well documented at this point), but rather his little-known skills as a singer, songwriter and performer. Nowhere is this more apparent than with »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Hard Working Americans more than live up to moniker
Hard Working Americans is a generic enough sounding term, conveying that you're part of the lunch bucket crowd. Part of a faceless pack instead of an individual. In reality, it's something of a misnomer for the sextet of the same name heretofore considered a side project. That's because they or in most cases, their other... »»»
Concert Review: Wolf rolls on with ease
Peter Wolf starts off his first disc in six years, "A Cure for Loneliness," with "Rolling On." Great title for a song, and as he would prove in concert, he lived up to those words.
The song starts "You can lay down and die / You can lay up and count the tears you've cried / But baby, that's not me / There's a... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
James Reams is one of bluegrass music's unconventional stalwarts. A son of Kentucky, Reams' journey has taken any number of unusual pathways since the mid-seventies. Producing albums for more than 20 years, Reams' ninth release of personable bluegrass, "Rhyme and Season," is a relaunch for Reams, an artist who has never followed a singular route.
After scoring a 2015 IBMA nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for "Cold Spell," Frank Solivan tried something a little different this time around - an album of songs recorded by "Family, Friends and Heroes" (Compass). In an earlier musical life, Solivan served as stalwart in Country Current, the Navy's touring bluegrass band. Solivan left the service and formed Dirty Kitchen, a hat-tip to his background and continuing efforts as a chef.... »»»
Aubrie Sellers just may be onto something on her debut - garage country. After all, we've already witnessed traditional country, new country, neo-traditional, country rock, pop country and bro country. Sellers, a 25-year-old Nashvillian with a big time musical pedigree who released her debut, "New City Blues," in January, said the moniker came to mind as her bio was being written.... »»»
Twenty two years have passed since Jon Langford formed the Waco Brothers as a jalapeno-spiced country adjunct to his primary gig with his
punk-infused Mekons. And while The Mekons have inserted some twang in their
stomp and the Wacos have punked up their hoedown, Langford and his talented
cast remain focused on each band's primary sonic direction.... »»»
Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin have been together as Freakwater for over a quarter of a century, which gives their creative pairing at least the outward appearance of a marriage. And while Bean and Irwin haven't even lived in the same city for the entirety of Freakwater's existence,... »»»
Reaching her early twenties, Sierra Hull found herself beset by the same kinds of emotional angst and vulnerability that most of experience coming face-to-face with the challenges of life stretching out ahead. In her case, though, introduction to adulthood came at the age of 16 when she recorded her first... »»»
The Grascals are a well-established collection of players, featuring a six-piece mix of some of the most talented musicians in bluegrass. What happens when there's some turnover in the lineup of an established band? It either gets better or goes home. With... »»»
For those who remain unaware of Darrell Scott, "The Couchville Sessions" is an ideal starting place. Long one of "rock, folk, country (and) blues" (to misquote the lead track, "Down to the River") most esteemed sidemen (Robert Plant's Band of Joy, Guy Clark, Steve Earle), collaborators (Tim O'Brien) and songwriters ("Long Time Gone," "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"), Scott has been making outstanding Americana albums... »»»
Playing With Fire
If you happened to hear Jennifer Nettles' debut solo record, "That Girl," you may have come away thinking that she was a frustrated torch singer. That effort was chock full of emotive ballads, which, while heartfelt, sure was missing a certain element of F-U-N. Problem solved. From the opening sustain of gospel organ, Nettles storms out of the gate in a sensational tour-de-force.
Circle Round the Signs
Credit the new wave of populist nu-folk/newgrass talent and troubadours for having made a profound impression on today's Americana legions. Bands like The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons have influenced any number of artists that have followed in their wake, mostly banjo-thumping, rhythm-ready ensembles ... »»»
There is an element of Pee-Wee's Playhouse running through Cyndi Lauper's country album, "Detour." Maybe it's just the way she speaks during certain song segments, with that girly Jersey girl-like voice of hers, which causes the listener to expect Cowboy Carl to suddenly show up. It's also due to Lauper's love of musical kitsch. »»»
Even though Keith Urban's single, "Wasted Time," borrows more than a little sonic sensibility from electronic music, there's still an upfront banjo solo. And this is how it's always been with Urban. He may play the part of the guitar hero at times, and even revealed his eclectic musical knowledge as a judge on American Idol, but Urban will always be a country boy at heart. »»»
Stephen King tells us "Talent is cheaper than table salt." And what a shaker-full is contained on Martina McBride's latest. Songwriters? Hillary Lindsey, Sarah Buxton and Liz Rose are amongst the world's finest. For a producer, how about Faith Hill's or Taylor Swift's? And lest we forget - McBride herself possesses the best, hemi-powered soprano of any working singer today. This is gaudy, Dream Team level stuff. So, why isn't it better? »»»
The Family Album
Two siblings joining forces for an album project. For every precious collaboration from Stacey Earle on a Steve Earle tune, you can end up with other tandems whose work is pure schmaltz. Thankfully for those familiar with Canadian singer-songwriters Matthew Barber and Jill Barber, their playful, innocent sibling rivalry has been set aside for "The Family Album," an extremely sweet, stellar result. »»»
Twenty years ago, Robbie Fulks became a beloved alt.-country figure by writing modern honky tonk and country songs that rose above the work of many other contemporary traditionalists thanks to a combination of sharp wit and engaging storytelling. In 2013, Fulks gained critical acclaim for "Gone Away Backward," an album that took a deeper dive into history by embracing the traditional Appalachian folk music »»»