15 songs – 55 minutes
It only takes a few seconds of listening to the new album from Kathy & The Kilowatts to be pretty confident that one could guess their home state. The intoxicating mix of blues, rock’n’roll, country, swamp, conjunto, soul and pop that is so unmistakably Texan music emanates throughout Let’s Do This Thing! The opening title track in particular reveals a heavy nod to perhaps the most influential Texan band of the modern day, the Fabulous Thunderbirds. With its heavily tremolo’ed guitar, rocking groove and infectious chorus, the track could easily have appeared on the T-Birds’ Butt Rockin’.
Recorded in Austin, Texas, Let’s Do This Thing! is Kathy & The Kilowatts’ first release since 2015’s Groovin’ With Big D (itself dedicated to the Austin musical legend, Doyle Bramhall, Sr.) and like its predecessor is a fine collection of modern Texan blues.
Singer Kathy Murray has an enjoyably powerful voice, with hints of the ferocious sass of Lou Ann Barton, although with more of an open country edge (as evidenced on tracks like “Talking Out Of My Head” and “Loveaholic”). Murray also wrote all 15 songs on Let’s Do This Thing! which range from the funky pop-rock of “Spell It Out” and the Bobby “Blue” Bland-esque soul-blues of “10 Most Wanted”, to the Texas shuffle of “One Lie Leads To Another” and the acoustic ballad, “I Want To”. Horns are added to the old-styled serenade, “Beautiful Moments”, the rock’n’roll of “Each Kiss” and the Bo Diddley beat of “Exception To The Rule” (with spot-on beat boxing by Ben Buck).
Guitarist (and Murray’s husband) Bill “Monster” Jones is straight out of the Austin cool-guitar-slinger school of Jimmy Vaughan, Denny Freeman and Derek O’Brien, laying down a series of short, punchy but melodic guitar solos. The rest of the band on the album comprises a variety of musicians, including David Murray (Kathy’s brother) on guitar, bass, drums and percussion, Dylan Cavaliere on upright bass, Jeff Botta on bass and organ, Richard Ross and Nina Singh on drums, and Dan Torosian, Al Gomez and Henry Rivas on horns.
Kathy & The Kilowatts do not let their songs over-stay their welcome, with only two tracks extending over the four minute mark. But every song is a fully-realised, punchy slab of blues-rock with a hint of country twang thrown in from time to time.
One minor frustration with the album is that it contains three bonus tracks from Murray’s Relatively Blue CD (“Read ‘Em And Weep”, “One Lie Leads To Another” and “These Lonely Hours”), inserted at apparently random points in the playing order. The result is that the musician’s credits on the CD’s sleeve are then confusing and contradictory, with two musicians credited on both bass and drums on three songs and nobody credited at all on others. The country rockabilly of “Your Barn Door’s Open” and “Loveaholic”, for example, both feature some fine uncredited upright bass playing (presumably by Cavaliere?).
That aside, if you’re a fan of Texan blues and blues-rock, you’ll want to check out Let’s Do This Thing!