Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Album Review: Kevin Bowe -Natchez Trace

 Kevin Bowe
Natchez Trace
**and 1/2 out of *****

A Minnesota based singer/songwriter/guitarist who has worked with some of the greats in the industry Kevin Bowe (backed by The Okemah Prophets) has now released this long slice of Americana titled Natchez Trace.

Bowe has written tracks for some of the biggest names in music, having crafted songs that went platinum for Kenny Wayne Shepard and gotten nominated for Grammy's behind Etta James.  He also sports some famous guests on this release. Teaming up with Paul Westerberg and Nels Cline for "Everybody Lies" is a clear disk high point with its horn drenching flavor and high pitched chorus. 

The Meat Puppets also oddly (but winningly) show up for a banjo twirling, psyche guitar, light twist on the Western sounding "Devils Garden".  The 12 bar blues of "Waitin' For The Wheel" recalls some of that down home dust on the floor goodness of a honky-tonk and that back-porch feel on these kind of songs is where Bowe works best.

Things get odd when the hand claps and swing try to infiltrate things on the poppy "Never Don't Stay" and the tepid ballad "My Favorite Pain".  Vocally Bowe could use some work as there are moments when his restrained voice keeps the song from really hitting the right note.   Bowe mentioned with this albums release that he was free from the BS of labels, but there is a lot here that seems repetitive ("Nature's Way", "LA Dogs" etc), something an outside voice may have trimmed.

Bowe shows the work of a solid professional and it would not be surprising to see covers of some of these tracks take off but as it stands now Natchez Trace is just an average (if not particularly memorable) disk.        
Check out more from the artist here.  Grab the disk here and peep some samples of the highlight tracks below:
"Waitin' For The Wheel"

"Everybody Lies"

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