Terry Kitchen

UC 1004

urban campfire productions
PO Box 440171
West Somerville, MA 02144

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Kerry Bernard

"There was nothing much to do in Fairbanks but get high and get laid..."

When the opening song starts like that, how much more honest can a CD get? Apparently, a lot more.

The strength of Terry Kitchen's latest CD, "Blanket" [which follows his earlier releases, I Own This Town (1995), Blues and Grace (1993), and max po-KRIV-chak (1991)], lies not in catchy tunes or clever orchestrations but, rather, in the simplistic and forthright storytelling it contains. Listening closely to the lyrics while looking at the pictures of Terry on the front and back covers of the case (one of him as a child, held by his mother and flanked by the sister who is featured in the tender song, Big Sister - the other a photo of him today, some thirty-odd years later), I can't help but feel as though he is an old friend who might call me in a few minutes to share his latest life adventure. I use the word "adventure" loosely, though, because what many of us might write off as mundane, Terry would no doubt perceive as an adventure. Consider, for instance, the lyrics to the song Love is Possible:

At Magnolia and Main I stopped for the light
I glanced at the car in the lane to my right
A woman looked back, held my gaze for a second
We smiled then both turned away
But we both looked back, this time we laughed
I rolled down my window to say something fast
Somebody honked, the red light was green
So I waved, "have a nice day"
I turned left, she went straight
And that was the extent of our date...

It reads like a scene from a film but one in which everyone can see themselves acting. I mean, really, who among us hasn't flirted at an intersection? The only difference is that while we fail to see the humour and beauty of the situation, Terry takes note of it and uses it as evidence for the possibility of love.

Reading through Terry Kitchen's lyrics is what I imagine it would be like to read through his diary. Alternating between amusing anecdotes and fond tributes to loved ones, Terry puts more effort into telling his stories and conveying his feelings than dazzling his audience with his musical prowess. The audience is rewarded by the fruits of his labour with an honest and oftentimes heart-wrenching CD (the songs Michael, Big Sister, and German Violin being cases in point). The entire CD is well worth a listen or, at the very least, a good, thorough reading.

Track List:

  • Kid Who Looks Like Me
  • I Can't Remember Life Before I Got Here
  • Three If By Air
  • If Wishes Were Rivers
  • Love is Possible
  • The Sweetest Poison
  • Everything Makes Me Cry These Days
    Except The Rolling Stones
  • Michael
  • Rachel Won't You Come
  • Big Sister
  • Homesick Angel
  • German Violin
  • Lightning Strikes

All songs copyright 1997 Terry Kitchen/urban campfire music, BMI, except "German Violin" (c) 1997 Terry Kitchen-Mark Simos/urban campfire music, BMI.

Edited by Michele Scherneck

Copyright 1998, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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