Kirby Sewell Band – Girl With A New Tattoo
Smelly Cat Records – 2014
10 tracks; 39 minutes
This is the third release from this Canadian band. Singer Kirby’s lead vocals handle the bluesy rock material pretty well and the twin guitars of main writer and producer Neil Gunhold and Morgan Turk produce some excellent moments. The rhythm section is Jim Johnston on drums and Jae Cho on bass. One thing immediately evident is the care and attention given to the packaging here with a good quality gatefold (featuring three girls with tattoos who are credited in the sleevenotes!) and a booklet with full lyrics.
The title track has some amusing observations from Kirby: “Is that a daisy or an orchid? I don’t know flowers all that well…Is that a map of South East Asia. I bet you’d be helpful on a trip.” Opening cut “The Devil’s In The Details” follows a fairly routine funk-rock pattern but then unveils an exciting, faster-paced middle section with the guitar really cutting loose, driven by the increasing pace of the drums. Morgan gives us some swampy slide work on “Stop And Go!”, a solo which again emerges a little unexpectedly from the main tune. The full-on rock assault of $1.11 has some clever lyrics (“I sold my soul for a dollar, I sold my dreams for a dime, I sold my heart for a penny in a pawn shop on the corner, now I’ve got $1.11.”). The two guitarists play well together on “Kiss You Tonight” which has a loose Black Crowes/Stones feel about it and the muscular riff and brooding bass that propel “Cryin’ All The Way”, a sad tale of being abandoned by his girl who also took with her most things of value in the house!
When the band drops the pace they tend to edge into country rock territory. “Simply Not Enough” has a relaxed feel with ringing, melodic guitars and Kirby singing in a more restrained, romantic style. “A Better Reason” also takes a country rock approach though here Kirby seems to be struggling a little to reach all the notes. The album closes with some acoustic picking on “Till The River Starts To Overflow”, probably the closest we get to a blues on the album.
With good guitar playing and interesting lyrics there is certainly something worth investigating here but blues purists can let this one pass by.