South Carolina’s Kenny George Band premieres The Silent Saint on Blogcritics.
After the untimely death of the band’s drummer, Bucky Brown, the members of the Kenny George Band took a long hard look at whether they should keep making music. Sudden tragedy throws up a wall that’s impossible to circumvent.
In the end, the band chose to keep making music. Songs roughed out with Brown were rerecorded utilizing Brown’s original tracks, along with brand new instrumentation for a brighter sound. The result is seven tracks of scrumptious music.
The Silent Saint is both a tribute to Bucky Brown and the ushering in of the band’s present embodiment, a smooth, respectful transition from the past to the present.
With a sound inspired by American bands such as Whiskeytown and Wilco, along with outlaw country artists like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Townes Van Zandt, the Kenny George band merges elements of rock and country. In 2014, they dropped their debut EP Gunshy, followed by Live From Sky City, and Borrowed Trouble.
Made up of George Kenny (guitar, vocals), Center Ely (steel guitar), Brooks Andrews (bass), Scott Rankin (guitar, vocals), and new drummer Dave Mercer, the Kenny George Band remains focused along a single axis.
The EP opens with “Treat Me This Way,” a swampy blues number with tight dirty guitar flavors riding a measured groove. The flow of the music undulates with dark oozing textures, as George’s melancholic tones imbue the tune with tormented feelings.
According to Kenny George, a direct quote for this review courtesy of his publicist, “‘Treat Me This Way’ is an old bluesy song I wrote almost 10 years ago. It’s an unfortunate story about having suspicions about the girl you’re with and letting them get the best of you. The lap steel guitar on this is one of my favorite parts of the record.”
Highlights on the EP include “New Orleans,” a country-flavored rocker full of southern drawling savors provided by the marinating colors of the steel guitar. George’s voice exudes timbres of pensive hues. The title track drips with intimate pigments riding soft tendrils of recollection of everything the band has been through. On the chorus, the guitars radiate resonant waves of rippling momentum, as the steel guitar infuses the harmonics with palpable gentleness.
My favorite song is “25 Hours Yesterday,” a SoCal soft rock number with folk and Americana coloration. George allows his voice to brim with intimate charm, sorrow, and vulnerability. This is a gorgeously poignant song.
The Silent Saint is wonderful, rife with imminence, warmth, emotional bruises, and fondness.