2018 – Little Village Foundation
By Phillip Smith; Dec. 8, 2018
I still remember the first time I heard Kevin Burt perform. It was shortly after I moved to Iowa in 1992. It was a remarkable performance with Kevin fronting his band The Instigators. His voice was unique and unforgettable. Kevin has been a key presence in the music community here for a long time. It makes me happy to see him become a part of a much larger scene since bringing home first place awards in three different categories during the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee : Best Solo/Duo Performer, Best Guitarist, Best Harmonica Player. Recorded at the famed Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California, and produced by Kid Andersen and Jim Pugh, this debut album Heartland & Soul is more than fabulous. With Kevin on vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, Jerry Jemmott (Gregg Allman) appears on bass, Derrick ‘D’Mar’ Martin ( Little Richard) on drums, Jon Otis (Johnny Otis’ son) on percussion, Kid Andersen (Rick Estrin & the Nightcats) on guitar and melodica, Jim Pugh (Robert Cray) on keys, and Lisa Leuschner Andersen on backing vocals.
It doesn’t take long to be overcome by the soulful groove of “Day Day”, the first selection on this twelve track masterpiece. It certainly brings me to my happy space. An inspirational message of gratitude is beautifully spun with heartfelt emotion in “Thank You”. It’s a wonderful song indeed. With a nice and swampy taste of slide guitar topped with harmonica, Kevin breaks into “Smack Dab in the Middle”. This bodacious track is steeped in delta-style blues and infused with a funky bassline and brilliant, jamming keys. Ensuring the only cover song on the album “Eleanor Rigby” is an absolute head-turner, Kevin adds a personal touch to give the song a greater sense of poignancy. It’s such an amazing listen.
Heartland & Soul certainly ranks right up there with the best blues albums released this year. It definitely merits my highest level of recommendation.
For more information about Kevin Burt, visit his website: www.bfburt.com .
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