Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch are two of five founding members of Dead Reckoning Records and if you don't know about the label, you should. Kane has dabbled with major label success throughout his career, having had deals with Columbia, Elektra and Atlantic Records. The major labels unfortunately did not lead to major label success (outside of a little chart action with his group, The O'Kanes) and Kane had to have sensed the lack of support and respect. Like Welch, Mike Henderson, Tammy Rogers and Harry Stinson, Kane had seen enough to tell him to find another way. Hence, Dead Reckoning.
You can tag Kane Welch Kaplin toward the end of a string of mighty fine releases from the label and possibly the best yet. Not always slow and somber, the music is on the quiet, acoustic side with flowing electric overtones. Kane and Welch are at their peak as songwriters and singers, Kane's beautifully textured voice absolutely perfect for his soft acoustic boogie and ballad style, and Welch dances between beautiful and melodic to downright dark. Add Fats Kaplin and a little shuffle percussion from Kane's son, Lucas, and you have a winner. Kaplin proves himself a more than able member with spacey electric sitar, spot on pedal steel and a train whistle of a fiddle which cries lonesome, but he takes the music to a very much higher level with his magic touch on a reverbed and vibratoed electric guitar which at times sends chills down the spine.
It's hard to pick best tracks here, but for the sake of argument, let's try. Kane's No One Told Me with its simple but effective banjo and electric guitar overlay and harmony vocals on the chorus has just the right combination of blues and gospel, and Callin' You has a catchy foot-stomping aspect to it on a more than primal level. Welch hits extreme highs with the downright beautiful I Wish I Had That Mandolin (Kaplin's use of electric sitar is masterful) and Highland Mary, with a musical nod towards Norwegian Wood (again, it's the sitar, but Welch has a way with a tune, I tell you), but he really stretches the landscape with the manic Dark Boogie #7, a talking country/blues look at what might be insanity, though he leaves the final judgment to the listener. Kaplin takes a very short minute with a musical interlude which is nice, Zagnut, and you wonder why not more, but not to worry. He has an a solo album you can check out.
In fact, you can check out each one of these guys by simply clicking on the label's website. I guarantee you I am going to do just that. Kane Welch Kaplin has me convinced that artist-run labels are not just the future, but the now. At least, this label.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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