2018 – Kris Lager
By Phillip Smith; April 21, 2018
The Kris Lager Band has hit an “out of the stadium” home-run with their latest album Love Songs & Life Lines. Taking a more rootsy approach than usual, Lager embraces the core musical genres classified as Americana as he opens up and shares an honest yet soulful insight into life itself. The band is comprised of Kris Lager on lead vocals and guitar, John Fairchild AKA Scooby Sha Bobo on drums, Aaron Underwood on bass guitar, Mike Lefever saxophone, and Jeremiah Weir on the B3 organ. Recorded by Pony Creek Studios in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Love Songs & Life Lines was mixed by legendary producer Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, Steve Miller, Van Morrison). Needless to say, it sounds great.
The album sweetly opens up with the magnificent instrumental “Aurora Borealis”. Lager notes this is both a love song and a life line, as the song’s title is derived from Aurora, Nebraska, his father’s birthplace. Immediately following, “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants” grabs me with a contagious hook and a Traveling Wilbury vibe. It then relinquishes me to the beautifully written and performed “Sweet Magnolia”, a track which brings back fond memories of growing up in the South. I love the slide guitar on this track. A smooth funky rhythm constructed by Underwood and Scooby sets the stage for “San Francisco Bound”, a freewheelin’, feel-good ode to Lager’s 2009 journey of California via the Pacific Coast Highway. This one makes me grin from ear to ear. Delightful waves of Dylan wash over with every listen to “Where the Green Grass Grows Tall”. Lager’s voice sounds so good amid Weir’s spirited electric piano accompaniment and Scooby’s shuffling beat.
Love Songs & Life Lines is both charming and brilliant. Give it a listen, it will not disappoint.
Love Songs and Life Lines can be purchased from Kris Lager on his website: https://www.krislagerband.com/store.html
In June of 2014, I caught up with the Kris Lager Band with camera in hand, for the annual Irish District Music and Arts Festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Those photos can be viewed using the following link: https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2014/06/irish-district-music-arts-festival_22.html