REVIEW: Stephen Kellogg’s “Objects in the Mirror” is Good Storytelling with Bakersfield Sound


Stephen Kellogg is the former singer of Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers, but he has done pretty well for himself as a solo artist. His new album Objects in the Mirror (Fat Sam Records) was produced by Will Hoge. It is an album of good storytelling and lyrics that are sure to reach inside you and grab a hold of something.
In “High Highs and Low Lows,” Kellogg’s vocals bring Townes Van Zandt to mind for a couple reasons. First, the sound is pretty similar to Van Zandt. In addition Kellogg kind of speaks some of the vocals (especially in the verses) rather than singing them. It has a bit of a dramatic effect on the song because it allows the listener to really hear that Kellogg tells. The melody of the song has a little bit of the Bakersfield with the low pedal steel in the background.

Kellogg displays his talents as a songwriter in the title track. He sings about events both personal and with a national impact that become our objects in the mirror. From the Challenger tragedy to the Vegas shooting to more personal events like the day his mom was no longer herself, he sings about things that will wrench your heart. The instrumentation adds to the power of the song. This song includes fiddle, pedal steel, and a piano part that increase the impact of an already powerful song. If this song doesn’t make you feel something, it’s hard to imagine what will.

“Song for Daughters” is another song that is sure to make you feel something. The message is that “everyone wants to be beautiful,” but that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. While this is a song dedicated in particular to daughter, it contains a message that is good for sons too. Namely, that you shouldn’t be too tough a critic on yourself and that when you love, you should love with everything you have. This is an easygoing melody with a hard-hitting message. It’s easy to imagine this song being a popular one for father-daughter dances at weddings.

At its heart Objects in the Mirror is a singer-songwriter album. However, Kellogg weaves a fair amount of country sounds into the album from lonesome Bakersfield pedal steel to some guitar parts that would fit pretty easily on country-music stations across the country. These songs could be performed just as easily in a coffee shop as in a dark honky tonk. If you’re a fan of strong songwriting and storytelling, this is an album you should add to your collection. This album was released on November 23 and is available everywhere now.

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