Singer-songwriter Kenny Roby is no stranger to the music now referred to in 2020 as Americana music. His band the 6-String Drag in the early ‘90s helped create along with Steve Earle (whose record label they were signed to), Lucinda Williams, and others the sound that would help define the sub-genre to the pre-internet listening audience of the day and beyond.
With his first solo album in seven years, The Reservoir, Roby affirms and reestablishes his spot as one of the sub-genre’s most talented and evocative songwriters by using his introspective and sometimes piercing lyrics, wonderful melodies, and his affecting and charismatic voice to create one of the most emotional and impactful records of the year thus far.
Singing about the physical and emotional upheavals of his own life over the past decade(including the tragic suicide of longtime collaborator, friend, and original producer of the record Neal Casal), Roby is able to tackle his sometimes heavy subject matter in a clear-sighted, truthful, and altogether disarming and approachable manner.
The universality of experiences that Roby articulates on the album- life, love, addiction, existential dread, loss, reinvention, and growing older to name just a few, are ones that all of us as fellow inhabitants of this planet at this place and time right now can relate to quite easily.
Highlights include the powerful confessional “All Trains Lead To Cocaine,” the quietly soaring “New Strings,” the self-effacing “Only Clown In Town,” the unabashed love song “More Than I Do,” the touching tribute to Casal “Silver Moon (For Neal)” and the defiantly resilient “I’m Gonna Love Again.”
With this collection of songs, Roby is, in effect, looking inside of himself at his life experiences and subsequently reaching out to the individual listener to quietly say that with all of the pain and suffering that we go through in this life, you can take solace in the fact that you are not alone and that you can get through it. This by itself speaks to not only to the greatness of this record but also to Roby’s overriding compassion for his fellow human beings as well, something that can sometimes seem to be in short supply everywhere today.
I say to you the reader, give this record a spin and you just might feel better about your life and this world right now. I know I did.
The Reservoir by Kenny Roby on Royal Potato Family Records will be available August 7th on his website.
Credits: All songs were written by KENNY ROBY, ©2020 Monkey Cup Music (BMI) KENNY ROBY – vocals, acoustic and electrics guitars JEFF HILL – electric bass, upright bass, cello, harmony vocals TONY LEONE – drums, percussion, background vocals JOHN LEE SHANNON – acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bandolin, mandola, lap steel, banjo, harmony vocals JESSE AYCOCK – acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, lap steel, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, harmony vocals with guests: DORI FREEMAN – harmony vocals on Only Clown In Town DAVE SCHOOLS – percussion on Silver Moon, background vocals on Vampire Song GARY WALDMAN – 12 string guitar on Silver Moon Produced by DAVE SCHOOLS Engineered and mixed by CHRIS BITTNER Additional recording by JOE BASS and JESSE AYCOCK
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