Self-Produced/Frankie’s Chew Toy Publishing (BMI)
CD: 12 Songs; 52:25 Minutes
Styles: R&B, Jazz-and-Soul-Influenced Blues
What do Taylor Swift, Adele, Madonna, and Southern California native Kelly Zirbes, of the band Kelly’s Lot, have in common? They’re all female dynamo singers who are the main showcases of their respective bands. In time, these first three have ascended the pop charts to become some of the country’s best household names. Hopefully the fourth will as well, in the dual arenas of R&B and straight blues. Kelly and her Lot have a great horn section, and twelve original songs, on their new CD Don’t Give My Blues Away. Those searching for sizzling saxophone and tasty trumpet will definitely find it here, but the guitar work is slightly less noticeable. This is a lighthearted party album, featuring Kelly’s good-natured vocals with a sharp-edged kick. The three tunes below are the most danceable, whether fast or slow.
Kelly’s Lot consists of Kelly Zirbes as the lead chanteuse, guitarists Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca, bassist Matt McFadden, drummer Robert Dill, Bill Johnston on saxophone, Dave Welch on trumpet, pianist Teresa James, and Fred Mandel on B3 organ. All of the album’s selections were written by Zirbes and Perry Robertson, except “Woman’s Love” which was co-written by Kelly and Rob Zucca. Each track is played with a nice balance of energy and musical technique.
Track 01: “Hush Up” – This CD’s opening number contains its title, belted out at the beginning. Listeners might be tempted to forget the real name of “Hush Up”, but that’s a minor risk. What do people do when their lovers start blabbing relationship secrets to everyone around? One solution is to give the gossip-mongers an ultimatum: “When I get lonely, you’re all that I need. When I get those feelings, I’ll come clean. When I get down, I always get up. I think it’s time for you to hush up….” The Lot’s instrumentation is in top form, especially the horns and bass beat.
Track 04: “Woman’s Love” – This is one song in which Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca’s guitar work is simply brilliant. Electric shredders don’t always have to scream in order to be effective. Sometimes soft strumming and notes that fall like snowflakes are far better mood-setters. “Can you hear me? Can you feel me?” cries Kelly in equal parts desire and frustration.
Track 06: “Right Now” – With a tempo as urgent as its title, track six is a rollicking blues rocker. Love can’t wait, and neither can our narrator: “Tonight, I’m going to open up my soul. Tonight, I’m going to let everybody know that nothing’s going to make me turn around and go.” This the perfect tune to play if you’re in a hurry to get to a swinging celebration, if not on one’s morning commute. Check out the killer guitar solo in the middle.
Kelly’s Lot sure has a lot to give to the R&B world in 2015!