There are so many reasons to love singer/songwriter Kevin Anthony and his new album “North Star.” Its honky-tonkin’ and lovin’ songs are delivered by Kevin’s vocals in a fresh new way, but definitely sticking close to the true Texas Honky-Tonk, Americana and Folk sounds. How Kevin can make the old seem new is remarkable! I can hear a distinct blending of Willie, Waylon, and even some Charlie Pride, Bob Wills and Hank Williams, Sr. in Kevin’s outlaw-ish vocals and song delivery!
You can just picture the clubs and bars and visualize just how someone’s dancing to each song while those great lyrics and Kevin’s voice infuses your consciousness with its message. Pure and simple, Kevin’s got this unique and versatile sound to artist perfection on this “North Star” album.
“I was able to work many talented musicians on this project and it spanned many states. I used my Minnesota band “The Twin City Playboys” which consists of Eric Paulson on bass, Bill Quinn & Joe Savage on pedal steel and Al Epp on drums. **Al Epp is from the Twin City Playboys and played drums
From Louisiana, I was able to work with Grammy nominated Cajun fiddler, Al Berard of the Basin Brothers from Cecilia, Louisiana. “Al Berard played guitar and drums on many of the tracks,” Kevin explains. “**Al Berard is a Cajun fiddler and played fiddle, guitar and drums along with his daughter and son-in-law
“Al Epp played guitar and drums on many of the tracks,” Kevin explains. “Al was kind enough to have his daughter, Maegan Berard play drums & bass on many of the tracks along with her husband Kyle Hebert on bass on Fading Away. Adding to the mix was Cajun steel player Terry Huval for that finishing touch on the lap steel. A great mix of musicians and a pleasure to work with on this album.” Backed with super-talented perfection of fiddles, electric and steel guitars and some great drum play, all blend with Kevin’s songs and vocals as if they were always meant to be together. (The fact that Kevin could be a reincarnated Hank, Sr. did cross my mind!) Kevin and his band’s full power of mastering Honky-Tonk and Folk are so pure – lyrically, vocally and melodically – brilliant!
Yes, that’s definitely serendipity.
Kevin says “I’ve been using the term “Gulf Coast” sound for my music. I use the Cajun & Country influence in my songwriting and it makes for a strong dance rhythm.”
First on the album, “Hey You (Don’t Look So Down)” is thrillingly reminiscent of the older true Honky-Tonk Texas Music we all have in our hearts and memories. As with each song on this album, you are in a different space and time.
“Surveyor’s Blues” – you can picture a lonely surveyor who must leave for yet another area, missing his sweetheart and home. Kevin’s voice skillfully lends a mournful sound to the song and it’s as if he and the band connect in such an emotionally-magic blend. This is what I love about Kevin and his band.
This beautiful waltz tune, “With a Broken Heart,” blends steel guitar and bittersweet tones in Kevin’s voice and the same in his musical backup…I swear Kevin and his band are somehow psychically connected!
“I Miss You” – Again, Kevin captures the moment and the mood with such pure vocals and lyrics and the piano, fiddle, steel guitar and a great drum base move with him so perfectly.
“Hurricane Ike” – Well hit me with the upbeat Cajun/Zydeco music and raise my Gulf Coast pride! This should definitely be Galveston’s theme song during and after Hurricane Ike and forever more. I don’t think there is a better tribute song to the devastation and the rebuilt beauty of Galveston now. As an island boy himself, Kevin Anthony slams down the gauntlet and defies Hurricane Ike’s attempt to destroy. And destroy property it did, but Ike never counted on Galveston’s strength to survive and rebuild. I love it when Kevin gets into that Cajun, in-yo-face mode! In fact I’m recommending this to the Galveston Chamber, Mardi Gras directors and venues there in Galveston!
Oh, I love this one. “Fading Away” is a slow wave of beautiful but bittersweet vocals and accompaniments to really paint the tapestry of soft drifting waves taking her farther away from love’s shore.
“The Good Times Are Killing Me” waltz or slow two-step beat matches the beautiful glide of this song. Remembering the good times and the love he’ll never see again. Ah, so true and heart wrenching. Kevin’s vocals reverberate to match this song perfectly.
“You Belong” has a great upbeat background drum beat, complete with steel guitar, and fiddle and such great electric guitar riffs. I’m almost hearing Buck Owens or Willie Nelson in this one.
“It’s Alright With Me” lyrics say “If I leave this world tomorrow, I ain’t takin’ no regrets…if the world stops turning, just reach out and take my hand and we’ll just watch it all,” such a beautiful long lasting love song and a powerful and beautiful steel guitar segment. With the world as it is today, we just never know when or where it might happen through death or old age. Knowing you’ll always have that love beside you reflects on the strength in facing the hard times or the end. This one will bring tears, as Kevin again touches you soul with such purity and perfection.
“Purple Hearts” is a song of support for a friend who is lost. The lyrics speak to his friend of an understanding of what he’s been through, trying to forget the past and not letting anyone judge you until they’ve walked in your boots. Boots and purple ribbons are certainly a sign of a military friend so lost when he returns home. Kevin’s vocals are infused with sadness and despair feeling his friend’s pain.
“Texas Skies” definitely comes from a born and raised Texan! Through all the places he’s been, as attested to by most musicians who play throughout the U.S. those Texas stars always seem to have the magic to bring you back home…many times for good!
This album “North Star” seems symbolic of loss, survival and hope. You’ve found that North Star in this one. Kevin. It has led you on a direction of Top of the Charts stardom and directly into our hearts.
You can purchase online as a download or CD at:
CDBaby.com, BandCamp.com or through Kevin Anthony’s website at kevin-anthony.com, www.tcplayboys.com or 409recordings.com
An interview with Kevin Anthony next….