Monday, September 14, 2009
Kieran Kane - Somewhere Beyond the Roses
An album doesn’t have to have great lyrics for me to connect with it. A good song doesn’t need to possess deep meaning for me to enjoy it. In fact there is nothing more formulaic and boring than a guy with an acoustic guitar pretending to hold the meaning of life. However, when I come across an album with lyrics that have a genuine and distinctive reflection on life I develop a spiritual connection that goes beyond the music. That is the way I feel about the new Kieran Kane release Somewhere Beyond the Roses. It would be great if it stopped there; but in this case the instrumentation and arrangement of the songs makes the album one of the top releases of the year. Kane has been cranking out the brilliance in the last several years both as a solo artist and with Kane, Welch and Kaplan. However, with this release Kane is playing his trump card.
To begin with it is hard to even adequately describe the style of his banjo playing it is so eclectic. He combines this on the songs with a Baritone Sax that hearkens back to the alternative rock band Morphine. Deanna Varagona (Lambchop) supplies this baritone sax, Richard Bennett (Neil Diamond, Mark Knopfler) is on electric guitar, and Lucas Kane (Kane’s son and contributor to Kane, Welch, Kaplin) is on drums. David Olney provides backing vocals on “Don’t Try To Fight It” and Fats Kaplin plays steel guitar on “Unfaithful Heart”. The unusual banjo and Sax combination gives the music complexity even though the production is stripped down and raw. In almost perfect harmony with this minimalist yet edgy instrumentation the lyrics are infused with a raw spirituality. The spirituality is earthy. There is nothing esoteric about the lyrics. They are deep and infused with timeless truth.