Kevin Welch is an alt-country icon who worked in Nashville for several years as a songwriter and working musician, got a big record contract, and later went indie when the Music City gig lost steam. He co-founded his own label -- Dead Reckoning -- and has released a number of independent albums. Here's a quick look at his work...
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" (xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx)
Kevin Welch "Kevin Welch" (Reprise, 1990)
Kevin Welch "Western Beat" (Reprise, 1992)
(Produced by Harry Stinson & Kevin Welch)
Welch's second album for Warner Brothers, and his last for a major label, before co-founding the independent Dead Reckoning Records with several alt-country cohorts... This starts out a little on the glossy side, with a couple of overproduced tracks that have a Daniel Lanois-ish sheen to them... But it grew on me. Welch has a sincerity and directness -- and an earnest doggedness -- that can win you over. There are obvious nods to the Dylan-derived school of alt-country poets, a style that can sound wearying, but that works here pretty well... The highlight here for me was the album's most overtly country-sounding song, the forlorn, heartfelt "Happy Ever After (Comes One Day At A Time)," but once that comes along, I'm inclined to like anything else I hear on the album... And, by the end, I'm ready to say this is a mighty fine record. I guess Reprise dumped Welch as a lost cause... Their loss; indiedom's gain. But this disc is certainly worth tracking down...
Kevin Welch "Life Down Here On Earth" (Dead Reckoning, 1995)
Kevin Welch "Beneath My Wheels" (Dead Reckoning, 1999)
Kevin Welch & Kieran Kane "11/12/13: Live In Melbourne" (Dead Reckoning, 2000)
Kevin Welch "Millionaire" (Dead Reckoning, 2001)
Kevin Welch "Life Down Here On Earth" (Shock, 2003)
Kevin Welch/Kieran Kane/Fats Kaplin "You Can't Save Everybody" (Compass, 2004)
Kevin Welch/Kieran Kane/Fats Kaplin "Lost John Dean" (Compass, 2006)
Kevin Welch/Kieran Kane/Fats Kaplin "Kane/Welch/Kaplin" (Compass, 2007)
Kevin Welch "A Patch Of Blue" (Music Road, 2010)
(Produced by Kevin Welch)
A heavily-thicketed, roots-country, singer-songwriter set -- a little too densely crafted and downcast for my tastes, but rock solid for the style. Fans of Robert Earl Keen and late-vintage Joe Ely ought to dig this, too... Some songs latch onto a strong melody, like "Moonlight And Noon," with sweeping pedal steel courtesy of Fats Kaplin and understated harmony vocals from Sally Allen. Most tracks, though, feel sluggish to me, with Welch exploring his own lyrics, chewing them over, digging into a slow soul-tinged groove, while dispensing with typical pop rhythm. Trouble is, for me at least, I really like melody and a little rhythmic drive. But for folks who dig the contemplative, poetical/profound strain in modern Americana, then this is a doozy of an album. Certainly worth a spin, if that's your style. I did enjoy the gospel-meets-Billy Sherrill feel of the title track, which closes the album...
Kevin Welch & Dustin Welch "FestivaLink Presents: Kerrville Folk Festival, TX 6/4/11" (FestivaLink, 2011)
Hick Music Index