Saturday Sessions is the latest release by guitarist, Kevin Wilson. This record is aptly named as the songs were recorded only on Saturdays between November 2010 and September 2011. Saturday Sessions is the first record to feature Kevin on vocals. This album features re-recordings of songs featured on Kevin’s 2009 debut, Self Portrait, as well as one new song, “Tomorrow Never Comes.”
Why are these songs being re-recorded? The answer is simple. This time round, Kevin is providing the vocals to his songs. After one listen of Saturday Sessions, fans may wonder why Kevin didn’t sing on his debut. His voice is just as strong as any of the vocalists he used on Self Portrait. In fact, on several, his vocal is the better one.
“On The Lake” opens the record. Though an acoustic album, Kevin’s vocals have a hint of the rocker he usually is. Even the acoustic guitar sounds like it really wants to plug itself in and amp things up.
You get a trip back in time with “Self Portrait.” The original version had a strong 70s vibe going on, but on the new acoustic version, that vibe is even stronger. The melody may have you thinking of Blue Oyster Cult and their famous “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” There’s no cowbell here, but maybe there should be one.
“Scars” is definitely one of the songs that really had a makeover for this album. It is still a wonderful ballad, but unlike its counterpart on Self Portrait, that was very easy listening and featured a female backing vocal, this song now feels more folksy. The acoustic version is much more simplistic and intimate.
“Tomorrow Never Comes” is next. The only song that didn’t appear on Kevin’s debut. This song has a nice folk/country sound and is very radio friendly, especially for country stations. It would be at home next to anything by Zac Brown Band or James Taylor.
“Pictures” gives listeners a taste of Kevin’s guitar playing talent. When you listen to the acoustic guitar on this song, you’ll think you’re listening to Lindsey Buckingham.
The closing track is “Words Of A Poet.” In its original form, “Words” was a rocker. Now that it is stripped down, it is more folk oriented and a lot more relaxed.
Saturday Sessions really gives you a chance to appreciate Kevin’s songs in a different way. The acoustic versions have simpler arrangements that allow you to focus on the music as well as the lyrics, but above all else, you get exposed to Kevin’s voice.
It is hard not to draw comparisons between the two versions of these songs. There’s a lot of differences and not only in the vocals. The production is different and that really gives the songs a totally different life. Saturday Sessions is like a Saturday, a little laid back.
This album is a great place for new listeners to get exposed to Kevin’s music. The music is raw, and Kevin’s voice, though not as refined as the vocalists on Self Portrait, is pleasing to the ears. If you are a longtime fan of Kevin’s, his two albums are kind of like a before and after shot, though it is impossible to say that one version of a song is better than an other.
If you really want exposed to Kevin for his guitar playing abilities, his first album is the way to go. Either way, you are going to hear many of the same songs, just in a different fashion. Saturday Sessions proves to anyone that will listen that Kevin Wilson is truly a multifaceted performer. He can write songs, play guitar and sing. A true triple threat!
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)