Album Review: George Kilby Jr. serves up a Six Pack

George Kilby Jr., a singer-songwriter originally from Alabama, has released the album Six Pack, a collection of songs demonstrating his wide range of bluegrass, folk, blues and classic Americana music. He is accompanied by his long time band members, Neil Thomas (keyboard, accordion), Eric Halvorson (drums) and Arturo Baguer (bass). Kilby Jr. is also joined by Jono Manson on guitar and vocals for “When the People Sang” with Railroad Earth member Tim Carbone on fiddle. Andy Goessling, also of Railroad Earth, joins in on “Sunshine of Your Love.”

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George Kilby Jr. credits Pinetop Perkins, the famous blues pianist, for teaching him almost everything he knows about playing the blues. With his influence, Kilby pours soul into his music and has his own rocker attitude of never regretting saying and playing it how it really is. The entire album is laid back and an easy listen. Each song carries lyrics meant to make you stop and think of the past, present and future. Kilby’s album reminded me that music can be used as one of the strongest weapons we have, more often than none; all you can do is sing and play.

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The album kicks off with “When the People Sang” a gentle, country vibe with simple strumming and soaring fiddle. The song is a helpful reminder that the 60’s are still alive and well.  The low, vocal notes Kilby Jr sings during “I Love You in Brooklyn”, a ballad in tribute to New York’s boroughs was sublime, plus it helps that I’m a sucker for love songs. Neil Thomas’ accordion gives the song a vintage charm. “Something I Can’t Find” is what Kilby describes as “bluesy rocker with a trippy side” and it’s easy to see why with all the strong, multiple guitar riffs. Kilby takes a break from his original songs to put a fresh bluegrass spin on Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. He delivers the lyrics with a smooth and slow croon while sharp guitar and banjo picking is added for a great pick me up. I hate to say it but I might love this version better than Cream’s. The final song on the album, “You Never See the Hand Throw the Stone”, a haunting, blues melody from Kilby and a killer harmonica thanks to Phil Wiggins.

Key Tracks: When The People Sang, Sunshine of Your Love, Something I Can’t Find.