TME.fm Radio favorite Kathy and the Kilowatts new album Premonition of Love
With their recent signing to Nola Blue Records and the release of “Premonition of Love” on April 13, 2018, along with the successful 2017 release of “Let’s Do This Thing”, Kathy Murray and her band, the electrifying Kilowatts, reassert their place in the blues pantheon that helps Austin, TX keep its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World.
I know four weeks isn’t long but don’t worry it will still get lots of airplay afterwards or I’m not the musical director.
Given the label, you’re probably expecting a blues album. There are traces of that here, but Long Tall Deb and Colin John move in several directions, sometimes blending genres within the song. But even when it is not clear what kind of music you re listening to, it’s a compelling even intoxicating mix. This is not entirely new for this pair as it follows their 2015 EP Streets of Mumbai, which similarly used a bedrock of blues and soul accented by rock n roll, surf, spaghetti western, noir jazz, pop, Americana, and world. The couple seems intent on musically reflecting their travels throughout America, Europe, India, and Nepal.
These are all original songs save the cover of Townes Van Zandt’s Lungs. The wide range of instrumentation primarily come from Colin John, with Deb singing. John (who also sings) is credited with all acoustic guitars, baritone guitar, baby sitar, lap steel and occasional bass and piano. Numerous guests add vocals and instruments throughout with Michael Landolt (Coldplay, O.A. R.) producing. The title is symbolic of change and transformation. You ll hear the familiar strains of a lap steel to kick off the album, a crunchy blues shuffle in On the Way Down, pop in the radio-friendly title track and resounding electric guitars in the quietly rendered Lungs.
According to Deb and John, they re mostly creating a series of sounds you might associate with a car radio. In other words, songs full of choruses that you want to sing along with. This is especially the case in I ll Be the One and Trouble. Remember Why (It s Good He s Gone) is rife with spaghetti western motifs. Pull the Pin begins quietly with spooky chords before Deb becomes balladeer, perhaps the album s best example of her pure, soulful vocals. Horizontal Lightning is surf music in slow motion. Lights That Shine is a slow-building tune, with another of their patented sing-along choruses.
Credit Long Tall Deb and Colin John for forging their own unique sound. It s refreshing and captivating.
Will Sexton has joined forces with wife, Amy Lavere, and her fellow Tennesseans, John Paul Keith, and Shawn Zorn to become part of a band called Motel Mirrors. The band hails from Memphis and has named their debut disc, “In the Meantime” bringing to mind a certain John Hiatt song (although come to find out Hiatt had nothing to do with it). The band puts together a unique combination of country folk, honky-tonk, rockabilly and vintage rock and roll.
The disc starts out with a honky-tonk telecaster lead and an Everly Brothers style harmony by John and Amy on “I Wouldn’t Dream of It”. Amy lays out a gentle country vocal over a slow country rock anthem of an independent woman with “Things I Learned”. “Blue on Blue” is a gentle guitar theme with a vague bittersweet lament for lyrics.
“Let Me Sweet to You” is a classic country plea for forgiveness from John’s smooth voice. The Telecaster is unleashed on Amy’s country tear jerker, “Dead of Winter Blues”. “Paper Doll” recalls some of Buddy Holly’s rhythm, lead, and vocal styles, gently rocking a country song. Sexton surrenders on the bluesy, “Do with me What You Want” swinging a rocking lead by the tail like a cat.
Will and Amy sound more like Johnny and June Carter Cash on “Loving in the Morning” so much that you can almost hear the train coming down the track as the sun rises. It’s back to the Everlys and a fine Telecaster solo for Mr. Keith’s “Remember When You Gave a Damn”. Amy’s gentle vocals on the title track backed by Will’s guitar and voice, air unspoken doubts that arise in a relationship during times apart.
Sexton croons a country dirge on “Funerals in New Orleans” about the death of a familiar bar patron. The Mirrors close out the disc with a raucous “The Man Who Comes Around” about growing up in a family watching a series of men come to visit Mom while Dad works.
“In the Meantime” is a fine studio representation of a set of songs that the Motel Mirrors really stretch out live. The songs are diverse in composition and presentation. Sexton, Lavere and Keith have a fine album here, that deserves some country and Americana airplay. It deserves a few rotations in your CD player as well.