Kevin Pittman – Sundog
This collection gets off to a deep groove pop-funk flavor that’s nothing new but when done right is like sweet pastries & the Virginia native Kevin Pittman is an excellent baker. The title tune “Sundog” comes out of the starting gate like a winner.
As the PR indicates Kevin’s a cross between Darryl Hall & Keith Richards & though I’m not a big fan of funky guitar strumming as a means of a lead the application on this tune renders it danceable, interesting & infectious. You usually don’t get all 3 in one song.
The 42-minute CD Sundog (Drops Sept 15–50 Pound Records) features The Long Ryders’ Stephen McCarthy (lap steel guitar) & was produced by Kevin (vocals/keyboards/guitars/bass) with Kim Haynie (drums/percussion). The CD package is a simple handsome 6-panel fold-out.
The set includes a generous portion of pop, old-fashioned R&B, soul & what could pass as rock. Pittman covers lots of territory topic-wise. There are 11 morsels on this showcase & while there’s nothing here that’s innovative the independent release is pristinely recorded in South Carolina & Virginia. There are reminders for sharp ears of pub rockers like Nick Lowe & Ian Gomm but there are also soulful passes of Darryl Hall & Angelo Bond & rhythms akin to what Graham Central Station laid out with Larry Graham (a founder of Sly & the Family Stone).
Pittman is not a wannabe he has the high-test fuel on these tunes. “Right Smart Good,” even features some hot horns ala old bands like The Bar-Kays & Arthur Conley. Well done too. Kevin sometimes will even tempt a younger ear with some rap-styled singing though he doesn’t persist with that angle. But when he does he’s exultant & competent throughout.
One of the rockier numbers is “Gas Station Sleep,” which steps away from the funk & implements a cool rock accomplishment. If nothing else, Pittman is a diversified performer who tries with his heart to vary his showcase without being spread thin. While Kevin’s voice isn’t a strong one he’s nonetheless an expressive vocalist. And sometimes this type of music only requires that forte.
Some tunes are fairly basic (“Hand Raise The Sky”) but Pittman manages to inject some vitamins into the performance & that’s what makes it interesting. Some subjects in the lyrics are quite heavy but you wouldn’t know it because Kevin decorates each with such attractive melodies.
Highlights – “Sundog,” “Right Smart Good,” “Gas Station Sleep,” “I’ll Lock It Away,” “Wake Up the Street” & “Without Beginning Middle or End.”
Blue image portrait courtesy of Kevin’s Facebook. CD @ https://kevinpittmantunes.com/home