Kyle Culkin "Pork Chops"

REVIEW: Kyle Culkin Takes A Musical Journey Down Memory Lane


Kyle Culkin "Pork Chops" & Blues

Kyle Culkin’s critically acclaimed first album, My Americana, included a mix of blues, gospel, rock, country, and soul. Now, Kyle Culkin is going back to his rhythm and blues roots in his new album Pork Chops & Blues. But Culkin isn’t the only notable name featured on the eight-track album recorded at Cool Noise Records. Special guests include Jade MacRae, Carl Verheyen, Johnny Stachela, Jamieson Trotter, Marty Rifkin, Just Dave Bernal, Westin Byerly, and The Barrelhouse Horns. Pork Chops & Blues is Culkin’s musical journey down memory lane, full of life’s twists and turns and packed with emotion and adventure.

Giving us our first taste at real, old school rhythm and blues is the appropriately titled “So Damn Old.” Asking the years old question of how time passed so quickly, Culkin uses this track to reminisce about the past… although I’m sure he’s not going all the way back to a small-town mom-and-pop diner despite what the addition of the jazz horns and B3 organ might make you believe. Take a trip back in time and imagine yourself in a padded booth with a waitress dressed in roller-skates and a poodle skirt, hearing Culkin play on the jukebox and you’ll have an appropriate idea of the vibe of this track.

But, before you get too comfortable with that image, Culkin hits you with “Burn It All Down.” Mom-and-pop better watch out for the new sheriff in town because we’re trading the headlights for the city lights. In this upbeat, country-western inspired bop, Culkin is tired of his small-town life no matter how much John Cougar Mellencamp raves about it. He wants action. He wants excitement. He wants his dream. And he’s chasing it. The winds of change are blowing and Culkin is riding them wherever they go – but not before setting fire to his old life, his old town, his old self.

The wind of change blows fast, strong and true, so true that in “Nothing From Nobody” Culkin is done chasing his fame and fortune. He left his small-town. He’s burnt his bridges and he’s on his own. But he’s still having his fun. This upbeat tune chronicles Culkin’s journey in a riches to rags fashion. Starting with all we could ever need – whiskey, women and a whole pack of cigarettes – we end with a bit of a risky bet at the poker table gone wrong. Does anyone have some extra cash?

All good stories have a bitter, heart-wrenching climax. One second, you’re on top of the world and the next, the world is falling down around you. “Can’t Come Down” is Culkin’s climax. In this softer and more understated ballad, we get a glimpse of the loneliness that comes with Culkin’s burnt bridges. He’s feeling alone and isolated from the friends, family and partner that he left behind in the small-town that he resented so much in the beginning. In layman’s terms – he’s homesick.

But don’t get Culkin wrong. He “Wouldn’t Change A Thing.” Despite the time that he wasted waiting for his dreams to come true instead of chasing them, despite the bad experiences that he had along the way, despite the curveballs that fate threw at him, there’s nothing in his life that he would go back and change if he could. He kept his faith throughout it all and he learned how to live life for himself and not a life that pleased others. The melancholy “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” is the closing of a chapter and an acknowledgement of how his past is meant to shape his future.

As a whole, the album tells the story of a man looking back on his past. We start with the reminiscence about the prime of life and his self-proclaimed good years before we dive deep and see his journey from boy to man unfold in front of our eyes. We hear about his trials and tribulations, we hear about his happiness and joy, we hear about his loneliness and isolation. Culkin’s Pork Chops & Blues is a musical journey through one man’s experience of human emotion from adolescence to adulthood. Listen now:

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