Review: Kevin Wilson, Rise Up

Kevin Wilson, Rise Up

18 Jun, 2013 Andrea Guy

Kevin Wilson has to be one of the hardest working indie musicians on the scene today.  On Rise Up he delivers a solid blues/rock album.  Kevin’s strong suit is his guitar playing. Vocally, he’s better when the musical focus is on more acoustic based or pop sounding songs, but Rise Up is an exception. Kevin’s vocals are gritty and full of emotion.

The album opens with the title track, which instantly takes the listener to a smoky bar in the Deep South. The guitar wails and whines and Kim Harpo’s harmonica really brings a special touch to the song. “Rise Up” really opens the album with a bang!

“16 Days” is all about guitars and angry vocals. Kevin seems to be growling at times. This song is so full of angst and energy. This one is bound to be a favorite with the fans.

“Come A Little Closer” is blues at its slow and sexy best. Kevin has written a lot of songs over the years, but none of them are as cold shower inducing as this one. The line “Come a little closer and let me lay it all over you,” is pure sex with a touch of romance.

While “Come A Little Closer” is more sexy and romantic “Little Pieces” is a flirty rocker. This is a more in your face kind of song that flashes back to the 60s, a’la Eric Burdon and the Animals.

“Liars” is more traditional Kevin Wilson. It’s a slower track, a little bluesy and a little bit country. His subject matter is full of relationship angst.

“I’m A Criminal” might make fans take a second listen. This song is pure blues with a vocal that is as dark as the title suggests. This is definitely a departure from Kevin’s norm.  An overly dramatic vocal however spoils this one.

“Barn Burner” is the album’s one instrumental track. This is Kevin and his guitar in all of its glory. It’s fast, furious and frantic. It is very high energy and just what you’d expect from a guitar driven artist.

“What More” is a fun little song. A good straight rocker that needs to be played loudly

“The Hell You Say” is another sexy rocker. It’s refreshing to see this side of Kevin. A lot of his past recordings are more serious in nature or simply fun acoustic pop. These sexier tunes are something new and fun.

Wilson takes on, ZZ Top’s, ”Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.” This song wants to be a country song. The opening lyrics even suggest it, “An if you see me walkin’ down the line. With my favorite honky tonk in mind.” In ZZ Top fashion the song ends up being a bluesy rocker, and for this listener it is a bit of a let down. This song needs to have a more country flair. Sure the guitar solo is fantastic, but the lyrics and the melody just don’t click.

The album closes with a fantastic acoustic version of “Rise Up.” This version is slightly slower and really lets the harmonica take the spotlight.

Rise Up is something different for Kevin Wilson. This album really shows his versatility as a musician as well as a singer/songwriter. It is well rounded album with a prime focus on blues.

If you haven’t listened to Kevin Wilson before this, you’ll really want to give this album a try, especially if you are fond of blues rock albums.  Kevin’s fans will want this one, just because. Once you’ve listened to his music, you know Kevin doesn’t disappoint. There isn’t an album that has throw away tracks or filler. Its good rock n’ roll, the way nature intended it!

Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 4 (out of 5)