“I really love those guys. They’ve managed to keep evolving, not conform to anyone’s standards, take their lumps from the critics and keep delivering brave, amazing music for twenty years. You can’t help but be impressed by them.”
Kenny George is talking about Wilco. But, with a bit of time and another few albums like his group’s Borrowed Trouble, who knows, one of these days some new hotshot kid could be saying the same thing about him. Belying their young years, the KGB can rock out like The Replacements, conjure up authentic country weepers and add in bits of experimentalism that make them a band to keep your eyes and ears on. This is the best kind of ‘Trouble’ you can ever hope to have.
Kicking off with the menacing slide guitar and ominous lyric of the twangy rocker, “Lovin’s Kinda Lonely,” through the easy-rolling country rocker, “Carolina Too” (think a brainy Marshall Tucker single) to the sad acoustic shuffle, “The Tilt,” The Kenny George Band have crafted a record that is as diverse and artistically-exciting as it is radio-friendly. Two approaches that rarely ever achieve any sort of harmony. As to why the tunes all hang together so nicely, well, that’s not an accident.
“This is the first time I sat down and wrote a group of songs with the idea that they would be on one album together,” says George. “Our previous release, Gunshy, was an EP of a handful of songs written over five years. Borrowed Trouble is just so much more mature and cohesive.”
When asked about the record (immaculately produced by Shawn Guess) and his favorite tunes on it, George doesn’t need the usual day-and-a-half to think it over. He’s right there, ready with two of his favorites. Both of which came about in a distinctly different fashion.
“The first one would be ‘Picket Fences,’” says the straightforward South Carolinian, about the lovely, windblown ballad, with sighing steel and fingerpicked guitar and banjo. “I wrote that driving in the car. It all came out so fast, words and music, that I had to sing it into my phone so I wouldn’t lose it. The other tune I’m very proud of is ‘Tilt.’ It’s about a dear female friend of mine who drowned in the South Carolina flood of 2015. I had all the music done, but for some reason, I couldn’t quite finish the lyrics. I finally figured out what I was going to say and got it all down on tape about two nights before we were finished recording.”
The Kenny George Band will be touring in the wake of the April 28th release of the new, full-length disc. The road goes on forever for these guys, but that’s no biggie, according to their leader and songwriter.
“We’ve been doing 180 gigs a year for some time now. We’re pretty use to it. I certainly hope the record catches fire on radio, so maybe we can cut back a little on our schedule. But that said, I love meeting our fans and playing live. So aside from getting a little more airplay, you won’t hear me complain.”