Craig Kinsey Hosts An Intimate Party On New Album
I’ve always believed that changes in artistry are a good thing. Change evokes growth, it embodies passion, and it represents who an artist is as a human. The best artists on earth have changed over time. The music industry wants an artist to never change, to consistently rewrite the same hits over and over, and to never move forward as an artist and as a human being. Houston’s Craig Kinsey has changed, grown, and embodied a softer, seemingly more personal sound on his new album, The Nylon Sessions. In thirteen songs, we get to see the Craig Kinsey I’ve wanted to see since I first saw him perform with a full band, and we get to enjoy his sincere vocals and earnest lyrics in the best way possible.
Opening with the sweet and sincere track “Always Late,” Kinsey somehow embodies shades of his former sound by offering stabs from the blues harp alongside a gentle acoustic background. The beauty of how the Lefty Frizzell cover is displayed is that you immediately feel like Kinsey is in the room with you, while his vocal delivery gives the listener the impression that he’s singing about you. He follows this with “Atheist’s Love Song,” featuring guest vocals from Buxton’s Sergio Trevino. The harmony and the hook of the opening should immediately pull you in, while Trevino and Kinsey’s vocals seem to dance together like a couple on their wedding day. There’s a sensibility to the song that works with both of these guys at the vocal helm that you don’t find on either’s work away from what’s found here, mixing the subtleties of both of their abilities into something that works well together. The same could be said about the third track, “Bits and Pieces,” featuring Houston guitar hero Kelly Doyle. Kinsey finds a way to drop harmonics on guitar while Doyle comes in and off and Kinsey offers up a sweet little ditty that’s as delightful as a song can be.
Kinsey keeps the collaborations flowing on the following song, when he adds the pedal steel of Will Van Horn on “Cold Shoulder.” In the eeriest way possible, Kinsey and Van Horn embody the sounds of Doug Sahm without covering one of his tracks. The way that Sahm always sat atop the country world with his music, Kinsey and Van Horn keep that Texas sound without actually playing a country tune, thus resulting in a beautiful track that sticks to your soul like glue. Dropping in a Robert Burns cover wouldn’t make sense for any other Houston artist, though Kinsey covers “Green Grow the Rashes” like he wrote the song himself. Not a household name among many, Burns’ music didn’t sound this personal when it was recorded, yet Kinsey makes the track his own. A couple of tracks later, Kinsey brings in the delightful banjo of Geoffrey Muller on “Look At His Hands,” an old gospel track from Kinsey’s back catalog. After Muller’s banjo opening it becomes apparent here that Kinsey is having the time of his life sharing these songs with the listener. A guy who’s always thrown a party when he performs, the camaraderie found here with Muller just shows that the fun presentation of the song is a different way of throwing a party where everyone invited just happens to be a hell of a musician.
Featuring trumpet from Aaron Krumpert, Kinsey keeps those gypsy and jazz roots he’s previously utilized on “Siddhartha’s Dancers,” as if he’s playing in the background at a late night burlesque performance in the French Quarter. A couple of tracks later, he keeps things playful by covering the Bob Dylan classic, “You’re Gonna’ Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” featuring Muller again but this time on electric bass. Kinsey quickly makes the song — originally found on Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks — his own without deterring from the strength of the original version. It’s a nice and playful side to the performer that keeps things Kinsey, but embraces this more personal feeling that the acoustic rendition allows. He closes the album off with Mike Whitebread on guitar with “After All.” The Craig Kinsey who’s on this track showcases a lot of growth for the singer songwriter. The vulnerability of the track itself, the open and honest pain that the lyrics portray, and Kinsey’s delivery of his vocals on the song offer up another side to his traditional sound, while the party seems to come to it’s rightful end; you realize that you don’t want it to stop.
Through covers and originals, collaborations and solo offerings, Kinsey invites you into his humble house party and leaves you satisfied while still wanting more. You can catch Craig Kinsey this Saturday July 30th at Mucky Duck for the album release of The Nylon Sessions. With guest sets from Mike Whitebread and Sergio Trevino, the 21 and up show has doors at 9:30 pm and tickets between $20 and $22, with a copy of the CD included with every ticket purchase.