Kevin Stonerock – Twilight Town
Well, one thing’s certain, anyone who likes Jimmie Dale Gilmore, or The Flatlanders will find Kevin Stonerock’s first cut interesting. Kevin isn’t imitating he’s just comfortably in that style of countryfied vocal tone with a little rock embellishment, winding pedal steel guitar, a traditional country with outlaw edge. At least on the lead-off track.
“Too Young to Quit,” is perfectly suited to this Gilmore flavor. But by track 2 a deeper Tex Ritter tradition paints “Go Ahead On,” & “Railroad Man,” — this isn’t corny stuff this has storyteller’s muscle.
The Midwest-raised Kevin Stonerock has bonafide Americana in his veins. Roots rock sprinkled with generous amounts of traditional country straw, the lost country & western that always had great stories – even sax legend Charlie Parker said so. Punching in country songs on a jukebox one night a sideman asked Charlie “what are you playing those for?” And Charlie said: “listen to the stories they tell man…listen to the stories.”
Kevin’s 7th independent release Twilight Town has 11-original stories (released May 6).
Kevin (lead & harmony vocals, bass, lead, acoustic & baritone guitar, banjo) shares his spotlight with Derrick Carnes (drums, harmony vocals), Shane Guse (fiddle), Ricky Nye (piano), Ed “Pee Wee Charles” Ringwald (pedal steel guitar), & Gabriel Stonerock (electric & rhythm guitars).
“Gypsy Road,” & “The Town Where I Was Bon,” has John Hiatt richness though Stonerock’s vocals are not as raspy. This sounds like something Steve Earle would cover.
“Twilight Town,” is upbeat, & here Kevin’s found his voice. He sounds like no one now. The guitars are of 60s pop country vintage & that will sound “new” to young ears. There’s nothing novelty here. He just prefers to mine a vein deeper than today’s radio fodder. And that’s to be admired – especially since Kevin stirs it all up in an invigorating & addictively refreshing style.
“Long Slow Fade,” is a good slow love song but it lacks one element to reinforce the emotive edge. Kevin needs a good female vocal with a haunting under the surface voice. It would complement his vocals. It would leave an emotional punch in a listener’s belly.
Some are typical commercial fare. Good contemporary stuff. However, some tunes glisten with originality. The late fiddler John Hartford (a licensed riverboat captain) probably would’ve loved “I Wish I Was a Riverboat,” & he would’ve been an ideal guest vocalist since their voices are perfectly suited.
Kevin rocks out on “That’s the Truth,” for those ho-hum on this music. Just to prove he could. And he does. “The dues ain’t never paid and that’s the truth.”
There isn’t a bad song here.
Produced by Gabriel & Kevin Stonerock available at his website.