CD REVIEW: Kelly Pettit - Every Sunrise
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Pettit brings the mojo"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Americana, Rock, R&B, Folk
Sounds Like: Counting Crows, Cracker, Gin Blossoms, John Cougar< the Fray, Bob Dylan
Technical Grade: 9/10
Weakness: More solo segments, A few short sided songs, More vocal emotion, more slow heart stopping material, Short sided CD
How does this west coast Canada born musician wind up in Japan doing national shows, festivals, theme parks and shows for the Canadian Embassy? Kelly Pettit's life as a musician has taken him to over 4 countries. On his 6th and latest album titled “Every Sunrise”, Kelly showcases exactly what makes him so alluring. Pettit's newest release “Every Sunrise” was recorded in Nashville Tennessee and produced by Aussie 90's icon Greg Arnold. After recording his 5th solo album "These Days" in Australia Kelly embarked to the States to explore the Nashville scene. The outcome is a jackpot of catchy tunes with a strong nostalgic ache of real life. A couple listens and one finds themselves in an emotional roller-coaster ride of happiness and loss in 11 songs (38 minutes).
The CD kicks off the ground nicely with Track 1, “Perfectly Beautiful” a heartfelt flowing ballad that serves up an earthy guitar-driven groove, meshed against a walking bass line, effective harmonies, and a soulful melody from Pettit. Track 2, “Follow Me” shifts gears a bit with a steady flowing rhythm and well placed rock guitar ambience painted against a grand slam chorus, making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3, “You and I” is another impressive groove that dishes out a rock steady R&B rhythm, impressive Pedal Steel/Piano accents and great vocal harmonies against a grand slam chorus that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a strong first impression, dashing out 3 very solid songs in a row. This latest CD marks a radical shift for Pettit as his past material was more rock/pop based. The musicianship involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Pop/Americana, with brief touches of Modern Country, and even Saloon Jazz to R&B. Pettit’s music is reminiscent of Counting Crows, Cracker, Gin Blossoms, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with Fiddles, Organ, Banjo, Mandolin, Pedal Steel, Harmonica, Rhythm Guitar, well placed Piano, sporadic Percussion, fiddles, impressive Organ, and lush harmonies all built upon a ‘thick as a brick’ rhythm section. What I like the most about Pettit and his band, is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Pettit. As for his vocal abilities - well he’s a great advent for the Singer/Songwriter genre. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timbre and look that's infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - World Class Songwriting. This latest effort from Kelly Pettit delivers 11 solid timeless tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Kelly Pettit has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From the melodic title track the heartfelt “I Feel Nothing Now” to striking Tears Carved in Stone” to grooving “Dead Lines” and slamming “Gonna Have Days” to invigorating “Stole my Cool” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track 11 “Road to London” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses with this release. I do however wish there were more extended solo segments throughout the catalog. I also wish Pettit brought more vocal emotion to the table when the moments called for it. Just listen to Joe Cocker’s “You are so Beautiful” or R.E.M’s “Hairshirt” to see what I’m talking about. At the end of the day people don’t buy paper and plastic, they buy emotion. It's a critical component especially within this genre. I also wish there was more at least 2-3 songs that showcased a slow, heart-stopping emotional writing style and a vocal delivery compatible with that. All songs under 3.5 minutes feel like incomplete statements to me. CD is a bit short being sub 40 minutes – perhaps 3 of 4 more tracks are needed to make it a fully loaded release.
From start to finish, "Every Sunrise” by Kelly Pettit, is an impressive collection of music. The songwriting is gold standard – full of consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song, there isn’t really a weak piece in this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Pettit and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old-fashioned conventional wisdom. At the end of the day Kelly Pettit brings the mojo, and is clearly a marquee talent. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him over the years to come.