FAME Review: The Kenneth Brian Band - Welcome to Alabama
The Kenneth Brian Band - Welcome to Alabama

Welcome to Alabama

The Kenneth Brian Band

Southern Shift Records - SSR001

Available from Kenneth Brian's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Not sure why everyone else is calling this one "blistering", 'cause it ain't (dang it, was I sent the press sheet for Cannibal Corpse again by accident?!?!), it's actually a really earthy swamp-dog CD of thick sludgy Southern rock redolent of plantations, turpentine, and hyacinth. In fact, the stand-out cut is the nakedly cool ballad Last Call, a smoothly raw country duet with Lillie Mae Rische that's gonna have the rednecks weepin' in their Jack Black sidecars, blubbering in their pitchers of beer, and kissin' on the womenfolk who'll likewise be sweeping back a tear or three.

That song, in fact, reveals the true bottom line of the rebellious Kenneth Brian, who's a Romantic at heart, and when you note the inclusion of Randall Bramblett and Bonnie Bramlett, you're going to get the right idea on where this cat hails from geographically and aesthetically. Blistering, my ass, the guy's solid son of the sod material. Yeah, Tonight We Ride gets nastily Crazy Horse-ish blended with Texas grit, while The Fall repeats the motif, but Brian's neither a headbanger nor a speed demon. He takes his time, and the emphasis is on indignation and outrage, not frantic note clustering.

There's nothing all that special here, although Brian pulls out some subtly unique guitar solos (a real cool oblique one in The Fall), just solid Southern 70s rockarollin' highly inflected by SouthWest country, the sort of stuff we saw a flowering of back when Capricorn and other labels were around with The Outlaws, Marshall Tucker, Stillwater, Lynyrd Skynrd, Black Oak Arkansas, Cottonwood, Madura, and a diverse bunch of others getting signed and granted airtime. Kenneth Brian looks like Levon Helm's brother, but The Band figures nowhere in his repertoire 'cause he took the heavier strains of rebellion and amped up.

Track List:

  • Something Better
  • Texas by Tonight
  • Welcome to Aabama
  • Last Call
  • Holdin' On
  • Tonight We Ride
  • Nothin' You Can Do
  • Prayer for Love
  • The Fall
  • Cry to the Dark
All songs written by Kenneth Brian
except Nothin' You can Do (Dickey Betts).

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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