Stephen Kellogg’s Blunderstone Rookery is his first solo CD in 10 years. His band, The Sixers, is currently taking a break and this has given Kellogg the opportunity to release this very personal, mostly autobiographical recording.
Kellogg falls firmly in the singer-songwriter mold, like Jackson Browne, James Taylor, or Billy Joel. His style would be defined these days as Americana, with roots in country and blues, with a little bit of rock and roll and even a splash of punk on Blunderstone‘s “The Best.”
That the title of the CD comes from Kellogg’s favorite book, David Copperfield, shows that we are dealing here with a man who is sensitive, literate, and intelligent. That all comes through clearly in his lyrics.
The CD begins with “Lost and Found,” an acoustic number about finding identity, and continues with the blues rock “The Brain is a Beautiful Thing.” “Forgive Me, Forgive You,” comes next with a strong Tom Petty sort of vibe and leads into “Men and Women,” a very interesting song about the nature of the two which sounds similar to John Prine. “Crosses” is an introspective, thoughtful song about the memorials along the roads to those who have died in accidents; heavy material but beautifully done.
The next song, “I Don’t Want to Die On the Road” is like a look at the other side of Jackson Browne’s “The Road,” about realizing that there is more to life than just traveling around making music. “Good Ol’ Days” lightens things up with a bit of rock and roll. It is followed with a return to introspection, “Good Red Wine,” which is about taking an honest look at a relationship in trouble and what it might take to make it right.
Breaking from the quieter tunes again, “The Best” is reminiscent of Celtic punk, a bar song that invites you to sing along.
The most impressive piece of work on the CD is “Thanksgiving,” a 10-minute-long life story that is bound to give most listeners a lot to relate to. It begins and ends with a choir and contains a heartfelt prayer that the world will just stay the same for a while. Most of us have probably felt that way at times.
The last song on the CD is “Ingrid’s Song,”, a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to Kellogg’s mother-in-law, who died in 2012.
The entire CD represents exceptional work from a talented songwriter and a great communicator who really lets a listener into his heart openly and honestly. Anyone who appreciates the singer-songwriter tradition needs to know Stephen Kellogg. This CD is a great way to begin the process.