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Kip Boardman

Upon the Stars – 2003 (Ridisculous)

Reviewed by Michael Berick

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CDs by Kip Boardman

Kip Boardman recorded this disc at his house in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. Echo Park is an often quaint, often ramshackle area and this album often shares those qualities. However, while rather low-fi, this isn't a low-rent affair.

Boardman, a bassist-at-large around L.A., has fashioning a charming country-flavored disc that wins you over in its own understated ways. A gentle breeze of '70s SoCal country rock wafts through the record, but it never wallows in retro-ism.

The standout "Bottom Line" is a jaunty piano-based tune that suggests Nilsson on a country bender. Other notable tracks include the laid-back country rocker "Remember To Breathe" and "Edendale," a lovely ballad of tentative hopefulness. Tony Gilkyson (Lone Justice/X) supplies sharp guitar work on both tunes; juicing the former with some funkiness and the latter with a little south-of-the-border fingerwork.

Boardman displays a gift for melody and lyrics throughout. He is particularly adept with describing domestic details. The imagery of "mail piled up in the corner" and "flies buzzing around the dishes" in "Word Will Come" poignantly conveys the sense of a life in disarray. This impressive debut suggests that it will be harder to book Boardman for session work as his own solo career blossoms.