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Soul Season

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Album Review

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Tim Krekel may not have been well advised to credit his ninth album, Soul Season, to "Tim Krekel Orchestra," a name that implies a large ensemble of horns and/or strings, when he and his five compatriots — Donn Adams on trombone and percussion, Mike Alger on drums, John Mann on guitar, mandolin, and vocals, Michael Murphy on tenor sax and vocals, and Mike Williams on bass — really constitute a small group; "Tim Krekel Blues Band" would be more like it. Krekel, a Louisville native, is based in Nashville and writes songs that make the country charts for people like Patty Loveless and Martina McBride. As a performer, however, he is straight out of the roadhouse, singing in a gruff voice, tearing off stinging guitar solos, and playing gutbucket blues-rock. Songs like "Love One Another" and "I Just Can't Cry Anymore" off this album could be slipped onto a Rolling Stones album simply by substituting Mick Jagger's voice for Krekel's. When Krekel ventures from his core sound, it's only to travel to Memphis for the horn-filled "I Won't Leave You Alone" or to New Orleans for the second-line rhythm of "It Don't Bother Me." Occasionally, he also slows the pace for a ballad like "Be with You," even playing acoustic guitar. It's hard to stand out when you play music this steeped in tradition, even if you play it as well as Krekel and his cohorts do. The song lyrics show flashes of wit that a more expressive singer probably would bring out better, but Krekel makes his points subtly and then turns to his real talent, playing the guitar. The album is a great advertisement for this "orchestra" if it's playing anywhere nearby, even if it has been mixed and mastered too loud. (It isn't always the best idea to turn all the knobs to ten and just leave them there.)

Soul Season, Tim Krekel Orchestra
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