Bridget Kelly Band – Dark Spaces
Alpha Sun Records A1A.2020
13 songs – 69 minutes
Almost all of the music you hear today is written from a historical perspective, dealing with social injustices, bad love affairs and more. Once in a while, though, a group’s ahead of its time. And that’s the case with this ensemble led by the husband-wife team of vocalist Bridget Kelly and guitarist Tim Fik.
This all-original set was composed while they were on tour last year and deals with themes that range from isolation, loneliness and more – elements that affect virtually everyone in the world today because of their difficulties living under the threat of COVID-19 and the deaths and illnesses of so many loved ones. Fortunately, they temper the mix with a little hope and unbridled optimism, too, to ease the pain.
Based out of Gainesville, Fla., but road warriors who’ve played several of the top festivals across the U.S., the band features the strong, sultry vocals of Bridget and six-string wizardry from Tim. He’s a 2019 Keeping the Blues Alive winner from the Blues Foundation, and their band reached the semi-finals of the International Blues Challenge in both 2015 and 2016.
Their most recent releases — 2016’s Bone Rattler and 2018’s Blues Warrior – both spent six months on American charts and received airplay around the globe, delivering a mix of modern, progressive sounds that range from straight-ahead, 12-bar blues to Southern rock and more. And this one should follow suit.
Kelly and Fik penned all 13 cuts here with Tim producing. They’re backed by a trio of drummers – Alex Klausner, Sonny Rock (Tas Cru) and Boss Jones – with Fik splitting bass duties with Mark Armbrecht. And as Bridget explains in the liner notes, Dark Spaces was conceived to describe “the sacred space in your heart when you’re in crisis and carry pain that others may not see… The songs focus on optimism and that with God, positive thinking, and perhaps even dancing, you can get through anything…”
“Free Me” – an intense, steady, mid-paced shuffle — opens the action with a brief, emotional guitar run before Bridget launches into lyrics that describe her urge to escape from the captivity of a 10×10 room. Tim’s single-note solo mid-song emphasizes her pain. The mood’s more upbeat for the rocker, “Sky’s the Limit,” which stresses the need to reach for the stars by breaking down the walls you build for yourself internally.
The title cut, “Dark Spaces,” is a slow, bluesy shuffle that looks for answers as the singer examines the crevices of her mind, while the blues-rocker, “Find My Way Back Home,” is aurally different with Tim on slide as it reminds listeners that they have to plant the seeds today to enable their dreams for the future to germinate and bear fruit. “Someone to Hold on To,” a plea for love, follows before the theme turns upbeat again with a pair of positive affirmations, the sweet “Things About to Change” and the driving “Sometimes You Gotta Dance.”
The mood darkens again for the slow blues-rocker, “Moments,” which offers up more introspection about inner turmoil, before brightening once more for “In the Spirit (Souls in the River),” which rejoices about the accomplishments we can make when we all work together for a positive goal. Two tunes about romance — “No Use Tryin’,” which deals with the aftermath of a failed affair, and “Back Seat Love,” a fiery dance number – follow before the rocker “Southern Wind” and “Your Days Are Numbered,” a seven-minute slow blues, bring the disc to a close.
Available via Apple Music and about a dozen other digital services, Dark Spaces is a powerful, bittersweet statement that puts into focus all of the struggles humanity’s enduring today.