Although "Long Long Year" was released as a solo project by Kris Kehr, it featured several members of his band, the Stone Poets, and others. This time around, the Stone Poets get an explicit billing, as they serve up their own entertaining blend of American music.
The album opens in a nice relaxed style with "Moving On" which features
both pedal steel guitar and accordion. Like a lot of the songs here, it is fairly simple but very effective, and is backed up by "Lucky Thirteen" where the gravelly voiced Kehr shows that he knows how to write a good hook line.
If you can think of an American style of music, you can almost certainly
find it here. On "A Cruel Setting," for example, you get a mixture of country and blues, which includes unamplified harp from Kehr. Elsewhere there is even the more pop-oriented "Waiting On You" which has elements of Chris Izaaks and even REM about it. The band also skip over to Ireland for "Jig's Jig," and instrumental that has Kehr showing his virtuosity on the mandolin.
The bluesiest track on the album is (perhaps unsurprisingly, given its title) "Mountain Top Blues." It is the longest track here, and features some neat controlled guitar, as well as some very funky organ. The album then finishes with "Losing You" where the jangly guitars are once more in evidence, in tandem with pedal steel just to round things off nicely.
"Kris Kehr and the Stone Poets" is a good album, ideal for sitting back an relaxing to. Anyone with an open mind about the more traditional styles of American music will find much here to admire. The band are based in State College, Pa, and play mostly around the state. If you do not get the chance to catch Kris Kehr live, you can get hold of the CD through the band's web site (www.kriskehr.com).
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