The latest hits on country pop radio that are recorded in Nashville combine glitz and songs about saving horses and riding cowboys and dancing the dirt off your boots. However, Aiken, SC’s Kenny George Band readily gets their message across without whacking a cowboy hat on your head. On Borrowed Trouble, Kenny George wrote 13 straightforward and honest songs about lovin’, leavin’, travelin’ and drinkin’.
Lovin’s Kinda Lonely leads off Borrowed Trouble with a riff that sounds like it’s playing on the radio, just like Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. It tells a tale of broken hearts and whiskey bottles and the brilliant lyric “every mirror holds her face.” This song is more rock than twang, or should I say more Tweedy than Twitty. In fact, Steppin’ Stones totally sounds like a track that could’ve been on Wilco’s AM album. It’s another tale of heartache which ends abruptly, much like some love affairs.
Carolina Too is a rocker of a travelin’ tune. Perhaps Kenny was returning to South Carolina to rekindle an old flame, or hide out back home after a series of failed relationships. Center Ely’s fine slide guitar playing accentuates this track. There’s a fine bass sound from Brooks Andrews on the following song, Storm Clouds, which also features Kenny’s great lyrics “if I don’t keep moving, I fear I’m going to fade away” and “fear is forced on selfish men by no one but themselves.”
The song Great Unknown is something we can all relate to. We’ve all been 585 miles away from nowhere in the great unknown. That’s usually when we think our most contemplative thoughts. This song also features great interplay between Center Ely’s steel guitar and Brooks Andrews’ bass playing.
Falling Down comes with its own slide guitar one minute hazy intro which segues into something similar to a country version of Jim Croce’s I Got A Name. This spins the tale of man’s love affair with his guitar and when real love goes awry, he can always turn to the bottle.
Willie, Waylon and all of the other country outlaws would be proud of A Man That’s Never Gone. Kenny is walking the line for his woman, or is he? Women definitely love to be with musicians, but they never seem to like when their significant musician other is on the road all of the time and they’re left at home.
If you miss Whiskeytown, you’ll love the song Blisters and Bones featuring great harmonies between Kenny, drummer Bucky Brown and rhythm guitarist Scott Rankin. If alt country turned mainstream, this would be a great soundtrack. Following up is the Eagles-esque The Tilt, where drummer Bucky Brown keeps the beat in a peaceful easy style.
Kenny does a nod to the band America in Picket Fences. The proverbial suburban home with a white picket fence does not usually fit into a musician’s unpredictable lifestyle. Then we have the Tom Petty-ish rocker, Cigarettes and Strange which opens with organ and guitar. It’s a good kiss off song with the lyrics “I appreciate the heartbreak, now stay the hell away.”
The perfect way to end an album full of regrets, what if’s, apologies and resolutions is to have a track like Empty Side of Leaving which is a reflective way to end the album with clear simple vocals and acoustic guitar.
Kenny George Band proves that no gimmicks are needed when you have pure talent. Borrowed Trouble will be available at all fine record stores on Friday, April 28th. In the meantime, you can check out the video for Steppin’ Stones on you tube, or kennygeorgeband.com. Also, be sure to check out Kenny George Band on April 28th at The Alley in Aiken, SC and on April 29th at Royal American in Charleston, SC.
Angie moved to Myrtle Beach after a 20 year stint in Nashville, trying to avoid country music. Considered a cat enthusiast (not a crazy cat lady), she has hosted the Cat Beast Party nationally syndicated radio show for 9 years, playing the best in surf, punk, garage and power pop with some cheesy goodness.