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Home Away

Will Kimbrough

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Album Review

From the playful bravado of the opening cut to the understated finale, a kind of dark variation on "Me and Bobby McGee," Home Away visits a range of musical and lyrical settings. Each of these provides insight into Nashville's Will Kimbrough, whose narrative gifts stand out even among his hometown peers. This variety nods somewhat transparently to the diversity of his influences. It's easy, for example, to catch a whiff of Randy Newman in the delicacy, dark irony, and aching love written into "Champion of the World"; Kimbrough makes this clearer still in his muted piano part, but adds his own flavor with theremin lines that hover in the background. It's possible to imagine Billy Joel declaiming on "Letdown," though Kimbrough switches to a George Harrison flavor during the slide guitar licks on the bridge. And it's even easier to mistake "I Love My Baby" for a John Lennon ode to Yoko Ono. Yet these are all just colors in Kimbrough's rainbow: His overdubbed harmonies evoke Simon & Garfunkel on "Anita O'Day," but everything else about this tribute to a somewhat forgotten jazz singer, from the minimalist eloquence of the words to the ghostly organ fills, reflects his own artistry. A key to Kimbrough is his disinclination to take himself as seriously as each of his influences do. Not one of them could have turned depression into the banjo-tickled, pick'n'grin confessional "Happier." With albums like Home Away in his catalog, Kimbrough seems bound to emerge as an influence to reckon with on his own terms. ~ Robert L. Doerschuk, Rovi

Biography

Born: 1964 in Mobile, AL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Best-known as a name in the CD liner notes of some of the hippest country and rock artists of the '90s and 2000s, both Will Kimbrough's solo and his band work have been championed by critics on both sides of the ocean. Kimbrough first came to the attention of the industry as frontman for Will & the Bushmen, a popular college rock band formed in the unlikely locale of Mobile, AL. The Bushmen pounded out a reputation on the Southeastern frat-party circuit, releasing the self-produced Gawk in 1985....
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Home Away, Will Kimbrough
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