Saturday, May 18, 2024

#685 : Kevin Burt & Big Medicine - Thank You Brother Bill : A Tribute To Bill Withers (


2023 – Gulf Coast Records

By Phillip Smith; May 18, 2024

Original source :


I’ve been listening to Kevin Burt perform his magic behind the microphone for almost thirty-two years now. He is one of the most gifted singers I know. His well of talent runs quite deep and that talent brought him awards in three categories at the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. He walked away that year with First Place Solo/Duo , First Place Solo/Duo Guitarist, and the Lee Oskar Award for Best Harmonica Player.

His fourth album Thank You Brother Bill (A Tribute to Bill Withers) breathes new life into a dozen Bill Withers songs. It couples Burt with a stellar backing ensemble called Big Medicine comprised of Scot Southerland on bass, Ken Valdez on lead/rhythm guitar/backing vocals, and Eric Douglas on drums.  

From the opening notes of “Who is He (and What is He To You)?” I’m all-in. I love how Burt's voice suavely fills the air radiating off the funky groove constructed from Big Medicine. The funk gets stronger on “Kissing My Love”. Topped with a smokin’ splash of harp, this track absolutely cooks as Valdez tosses in his searing guitar licks. The tempo drops and the bluesy soulful goodness of “World Keeps Going Round and Round” hits with an amazing heaviness as the tension tightens like a tourniquet. Then “Just the Two of Us” rolls in like a ray of sunshine with Burt opening up the song on harmonica. I can’t help but feel good when I hear this song. It’s such a delight. I absolutely love his cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine”. The emotion Burt packs into his delivery on this track cuts to the bone. It’s additionally fortified by Douglas slapping out a ferocious beat on congas. “Lean on Me” brings back a flood of memories of hanging out with one of my best friends growing up. The song is a gift of time-travel, as I recall those care-free days.  Bringing the album to its close, is the title-track “Thank You Brother Bill”, written by Burt to show his gratitude and “Big Love” for music of Bill Withers. It really makes for the perfect closer for this album.

Thank You Brother Bill is one of the most perfect tribute albums I’ve heard by a single artist. Kevin Burt does an outstanding job of taking on these treasured songs and I highly recommend this recording.




For more information about Kevin Burt, visit his website at


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