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Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch & Fats Kaplan
Lost John Dean

Review By Steven Stone
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  Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch have been playing together for more than a few years. Their last release in 2004, You Can't Save Everybody, had the sound and feel of a couple of guys swapping songs around a single microphone. Their new release, Lost John Dean, is a more polished studio effort that still maintains their signature sound that combines raw energy and organic feeling.

Joined by multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplan on fiddle, accordion, takeoff guitar, electric guitar, peddle steel, and oud Kieran and Kevin handle acoustic guitars, banjo, drums, percussion, and all vocals. Together these three guys create a fully fleshed out acoustic band. On Lost John Dean Kane contributes three songs, Welch four, and one was co-written by both. Other tunes on Lost John Dean are by David Olney, Willie Dixon, John Hadley. The overall feel on this CD is a bit lighter and less menacing than on their last outing, You Can't Save Everybody, but Kane, Welch, and Kaplan still maintain a very down home bluesy edge. Their rendition of the Willie Dixon classic "Mellow Down Easy" would be well received in a 30's ghetto speakeasy. Both Kane and Welch have a knack for writing haunting original tunes that stay with you after only one listen. On their CD Welch's "Satan's Paradise," which reads like a cautionary tale to Robert Johnson, stands in contrast to Kanes's " I Can't Wait," which celebrates the rewards at end of a more righteous path. Both songs had me adding a third harmony part and grabbing my mandolin to play along.

Recorded and mixed at Moraine Studios by Philip Scogins and Charles Yingling, Lost John Dean has a guitar centric balance that should bring a smile to any acoustic aficionado. On the David Olney tune "Mr. Bones" Kevin Welch's guitar has the perfect amount of snarl and sustain. I especially like the way acoustic instruments stay in the foreground even when there are electric instruments in the mix, giving the overall balance a string band rather than rock and roll feel.

Tired of that oh so slick stuff that oozes out of every station on the AM, FM, and TV dial? Lost John Dean delivers enough grit to keep the music real. In the words of Willie Dixon, "It will mellow down easy when you really want to blow your top...." 




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