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Published: 2013/01/03
by Brian Robbins

George Kilby Jr.
Six Pack

Top Frog Music

George Kilby Jr. and his long-time co-conspirators The Road Dogs – along with some special guests – have crafted a six-single collection of Kilby’s brand of “rough-cut American music.” The result is Kilby’s new Six Pack, packed with tunes as rootsy as the art on the album’s cover (created by his wife Katy Keen, by the way). The mix is tasty; both eclectic enough to catch your musical palate no matter how you like your tunes, but bound together by Kilby’s trademark real-as-hell flavorings.

Kilby’s reflective “When The People Sang” has a little Doug Sahm vibe going on, thanks to Road Dog Neil Thomas’ lovely accordion work (complemented by some sweet fiddle from guest buddy Tim Carbone). Kilby and guest pickers Brian Shafer and Joe Andrews strap on their six strings for the nicely-crafted “Something I Can’t Find” – one for the headphones, for sure. “Cro-Magnon” will make you smile and make you think, with Road Dogs Arturo Baguer (bass) and Eric Halvorson (drums) laying down a sunny Sunday afternoon rhythm highway for Kilby’s darn-tootin’ ruminations to roll along on.

“You Never See The Hand Throw The Stone” is stripped-to-the-marrow blues with Kilby and his acoustic guitar backed by Phil Wiggins’ honking/wailing/chugging/moaning blues harp. It’s a cool showcase for Kilby’s fingerpicking work – but pay attention to the words. One trademark of Kilby’s originals is the use of a deceptively down-to-earth approach to lay some deeper-than-you-may-think wisdom on the table. Carbone’s fellow Railroad Earther Andy Goessling adds some gentle guitar to Kilby’s take on “I Love You In Brooklyn”, a tune penned by Neil Thomas.

The biggest brain-spinner on Six Pack is Kilby’s reworking of the Cream classic “Sunshine Of Your Love”. Reborn as a psychedelic back porch stomp, this version of “Sunshine” is what John Fogerty and the gang would’ve jammed into much later on the same afternoon described in “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”. (Dinosaurs a’strollin’ and everything.) Halvorson’s ratta-tat-tat drums fire things up, with Kilby’s guitar and Andy Goessling’s dobro conversing during the opening moments. It’s not until Baguer’s bass jumps in and the band settles into the groove that Goessling hints at what’s about to happen, doling out a greasy/gritty dobro’d version of the tune’s signature riff. There’s just time enough for you to wonder, “Wait – is that …” before Kilby drawls out the opening lines: “It’s getting’ near dawn/When lights close their tired eyes …” It’s a nothing-but-fun romp, with Goessling laying down some just-right banjo and acoustic guitar work behind the wicked dobro – and Kilby helping to shake the planks with some nice-and-nasty electric guitar twang. (Check out the little picking party they take off on around the 2:10 mark.)

In lesser hands, an album such as Six Pack might come across as the work of someone trying to find their niche; with George Kilby Jr. and company, you realize these are simply six of the flavors available from the same very talented tap.

Mug raised.


Brian Robbins keeps a six pack on ice at – preferably Ballantine Ale in the long-necked bottles with the word games under the caps.

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