Album Review

Kirchen, Bill – “Seeds and Stems” – [Proper Records]

Art Crimes   8/6/2013   CD, Country

This release finds Kirchen working primarily with his road trio and a few friends. Nearly all of these songs have appeared on various earlier releases by Kirchen, or with the Lost Planet Airmen back in the ’70s, but these stripped-down renditions are pretty representative of how they sound at Kirchen’s current shows — a sort of a “greatest hits live in the studio” approach, easy on the overdubbing. This results in a perfect show souvenir for the merch table and a confirmation of what this group does well: truck driving songs, country weepers, substance abuse anthems, and in the case of “Hot Rod Lincoln”, the history of guitar as Kirchen salutes a parade of heroic axe-slingers both living and dead. Anyone who has seen Kirchen’s live show over the last 15 years or so has heard this routine, but it’s evolved over time to include a few piano players as well, with Austin DeLone adding the requisite riffs. Some may quibble with the recycling of so much old material, but these performances are tight and well-recorded. ((( crimes )))

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