Kevin Sandbloom - Under Pink and Bourbon Skies (2009)

Kevin Sandbloom
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It would be an understatement to call Kevin Sandbloom's Under Pink and Bourbon Skies minimalist. Sparse might be a better word. Much of this record is totally acoustic with nothing more than Sandbloom's guitar and his expressive voice. Under Pink and Bourbon Skies is kind of like Raul Midon's State of Mind, only a little more intimate.

The minimalist nature of Under Pink and Bourbon Skies makes this a deceiving record. Listeners fall into trap of thinking that this record falls into one mood or stays at one tempo. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Sandbloom moves from singer songwriting balladeer on songs such as "Sentimentally Yours,' to a funk philosopher on "Up From the Cracks."

It would be an understatement to call Kevin Sandbloom's Under Pink and Bourbon Skies minimalist. Sparse might be a better word. Much of this record is totally acoustic with nothing more than Sandbloom's guitar and his expressive voice. Under Pink and Bourbon Skies is kind of like Raul Midon's State of Mind, only a little more intimate.

The minimalist nature of Under Pink and Bourbon Skies makes this a deceiving record. Listeners fall into trap of thinking that this record falls into one mood or stays at one tempo. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Sandbloom moves from singer songwriting balladeer on songs such as "Sentimentally Yours,' to a funk philosopher on "Up From the Cracks."

He delivers an acoustic rendition of "A Song for You" that would make Donny Hathaway proud. Sandbloom also proves to be an excellent lyricist. Even on a song with relatively few words such as "Coffee And a Strong Desire," Sandbloom manages to show that he can paint a verbal picture. The words tell the story of late night lovemaking and early morning coffee.

The lyrics and the vocals are definitely the strong point of this record. Sandbloom seems to know that his assignment in making such an intimate record is that people are going to listen to what he has to say. He doesn't waste time. "Sweetness," "Sentimentally Yours," "Up From the Cracks" and "You Should Know" are four songs that exhibit Sandbloom's ability to vary the tempo, use his voice as an instrument and paints pictures with words.

"Sweetness" is an acoustic blues, funk gem that displays the singer's feathery vocal touch as the upper range of the tenor spectrum. The song includes one of best pickup lines I've heard in a record in a long time: "When you wear that candy dress/Will you look at this old mess/In the service of that wish."

On "Sentimentally Yours," Sandbloom channels the musical spirits of the singer songwriters of the 1970s. "Up From the Cracks," shows that acoustic music can have a hard-bitten edge. The song's lyrics also paint the picture of an artist trying to grow from the ground up and on his own terms. The Latin tinged "You Should Know" shows that Sandbloom spent more than a few hours listening to performers such as Midon. Artists such as Sandbloom occupy the space once filled by the soul folk icons of the 1970s, and Sandbloom is at home there. Recommended.

Howard Dukes

 
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