CD REVIEW: Kenny Young - Simple Things
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Kenny Young
CD: Simple Things
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Americana, R&B, Southern Rock, Country
Sounds Like: The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Little River Band
Technical Grade: 6/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Dated Sounding Production, Winded Songs, Marketability
New Jersey’s own Kenny Young releases his debut CD in 2010 entitled
Simple Things. Influences include but are not limited to -
AC/DC & Allman Brothers.
The CD quickly takes flight with “Where do we go from here” a full tilt rocking guitar groove that serves up driving rock rhythm against slamming solo guitar & well placed harmonies from Young & company. Track 2 “Well Find Love Again” keep thing moving in the right direction with its steady flowing rhythm, hooky chorus, amazing harmonies & straight forward vocal passion from Young. Track 3 shifts gears a bit with its delicate acoustic guitar intro, eventually lending itself into an impressive ballad that flows & ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition with passionate vocals from Young. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 solid songs in a row. I would classify this music as classic Americana with a strong rockabilly & country, R&B flair. Also along the way you will find flashes of Americana, rock & roll, R&B, & Country. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive southern rock solo guitar, Hammond Organ chops & keyboard accents, slide guitar, fiddles & lush harmonies layered everywhere. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. One of the most impressive aspects of this band is how well the harmonize together. Now turning our attention over to Young as for his vocal abilities, his voice works extremely well within the confines of this catalogue. Young knows how to push hard, but he also knows how to sit deep within the pocket & sing a song with amazing fluidity. His voice goes down smooth & fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively with an amazing vibrato with a jagged edge. The music reminds me of classic acts like the Eagles, Allman Brothers, & even John Cougar, Bob Segar & Jackson Browne.. All songs are well crafted & consistent across the board. This CD from Young delivers 13 solid tracks. From passionate “Simple Things”, “Pure as Rain” & “Waiting” to striking “Going Home” to slamming “Krazy” to upbeat “Nothing Without You” & “Strong Man” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. There’s even a few classic cover songs on their as well like ”Walk Away Renea” (The Left Banke) & “Midnight Rider” (Allman Brothers.)
Track 14 & the Rap segment on Track 1 sound really out of place within the confines of the catalogue – it just sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s fair to say all songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Overall the catalogue sounds a bit dated, for a 2010 release. It reminds me a lot of some of the rock music popular in the late seventies & early eighties. If it was 1977 this would be a cutting edge musical production. Unfortunately it’s 2011, so the bar is set high for artists like Young. Perhaps Young’s needs to modernize his sound a bit. I also wish Young would really push the emotional envelope a bit harder on some of the finale moments. His vibrato – though impressive is a bit repetitive, predictable & way overly used. I fully understand this is a subjective art form but all of the above does effect the records overall marketability.
From start to finish “Simple Things” is an impressive musical collection from Kenny Young. The music is grooving, upbeat, & entertaining. The songwriting – all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. The writing, playing & singing abilities of Kenny Young & his band are rock solid, the melodies & harmonies are masterful, & the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with conventional wisdom & messages full of whiskey, bar brawls, & all things Americana. Last but not least the vocal presence & persona of Kenny Young is something folks in smoked filled establishments across the country will die for.
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