George Kilby Jr.’s career has now reached the 30 year mark. He is an American roots musician who toured with Blues Hall Of Fame pianist Pinetop Perkins for years before he passed away in 2011 at the age of 97. He will release his latest six-song EP, or mini-album if you prefer, February 5, 2013. The title is appropriately Six Pack.
It is a concept release after a fashion. Each of the five original songs pays homage to his influences. They range from blues to folk and from rock to a style he labels “jamgrass.” The only non-original track is a cover of the classic Cream song, “Sunshine of Your Love,” which he moves from its blues rock roots into a bluegrass extravaganza. He replaced the legendary Eric Clapton guitar solo with a dobro played by Andy Goessling.
Joining him in the studio were his long time backing band consisting of keyboardist Neil Thomas, drummer Eric Halverson, and bassist Arturo Baguer. Labeled the Road Dogs, they are a tight-nit group who provide the basics for singer/guitarist Kilby Jr. He fills in the sound on various tracks with a number of guest musicians including fiddle player Tim Carbone and harp player Phil Wiggins.
“When People Sang” is his tribute to the 1960s folk movement. “I Love You in Brooklyn” is a slower piece in which band member Thomas fuels the sound with his accordion play. “Something I Can’t Find” travels in a different direction as it is very close to the psychedelic blues of the early Steve Miller Band. “Cro-Magnon Man” is a witty take on the state of the environment.
“You Never See the Hand Throw the Stone” has some bite to it as he tackles racism, religion, and the country’s financial problems. He gives the song an acoustic treatment in which his guitar play duels with Wiggins harp.
Six Pack may be short and not very cohesive but it is always interesting. It gives a good look into the mind and musical style of George Kilby Jr.