Brian Kalinec

REVIEW: Brian Kalinec “The Beauty of It All”


Brian Kalinec – The Beauty of It All

This set is back to basics Americana. Brian’s cut from the cloth of storytellers like John Steinbeck but mixed in the bacon grease & winds of the Dust Bowl where Woody Guthrie left his footprints. There’s a touch of folk, country, roots & melodically adult contemporary. Thrown in to keep the old folks awake.

Brian Kalinec

Produced by Merel Bregante (drums/percussion/bgv) at locations in Texas. The Beauty of It All (Drops June 30– Berkalin Records) is 14 songs & it takes the majority to explore an everyday existence. It celebrates as Mr. Kalinec says, “some of the quiet victories in our hectic lives.” The rodeo concession worker, a friendship of neighbors who’ve taken separate paths in life, the unexpected journeys, an aging handyman, the late-night existence of a musician & while not all songs were written by Brian many are him.

I see Mr. Kalinec as another country/folk hero who’s still poking the musical bear as a mature troubadour. He follows a path much the same as the late Boxcar Willie. Ok, Willie had a gimmick with his outfit & hat filled with buttons & lures. He sounded a little like Johnny Cash but on close listen he was no novelty act. Boxcar Willie was genuine. He was good, entertaining, talented & skillful.

I’ve never seen him live but maybe his white moustache, glasses & fedora are his gimmicks. The performance quality is authentic. But don’t expect Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, or Willie Nelson. This is homegrown Texas. With Brian, the quality comes with the vocal sincerity & the well-written & performed songs. He’s experienced with the bare bones of the genre & sometimes that’s enough.

The majority of tunes also follow a similar route of soft-rock singers like Danny O’Keefe, Murray McLachlan, Kenny Rankin & Sam Leno. Soft-spoken lyrical approach with gentle precise instrumentation. Brian’s voice is too thin to be convincingly an easy-listening/middle-of-the-road vocalist but his capacity for sincerity in every note sung is splendid.

As a song — “I’d Never Expect It,” is Sinatra-worthy while “Next Door Stranger,” is Willie Nelson-worthy.

Highlights – “Big Hearted,” “Breakfast at Midnight,” “Two Roads,” “I’d Never Expect It,” “Next Door Stranger,” “Overcommitted,” “Fix It Man” & “If You Only Asked Me.”

Musicians – Brian (vocal/acoustic & electric guitar/fingerpick acoustic), Sarah Pierce, Susan Elliott, Jen Grove with Kelly Hanshaw, David Hanshaw, Jordi Baizan, Ken Gaines & Madelaine Herdeman (bgvs), Rankin Peters (bass), Dirje Childs & Madelaine Herdeman (cello), James Rieder (chamber strings & double bass), David Pearlman & Patterson Barrett (pedal steel), Pete Wasner (grand piano/Fender Rhodes/synth/accordion/Hammond B3/Wurlitzer), Michael Dorrien (electric & acoustic strum guitar), Cody Braun (mandolin/harmonica) & Mark Epstein (Fender bass/bass).

Color image by Kerri Clark. The CD includes a 16pp lyrical insert. CD @ &

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