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Kyle Frederick (from the album Silence You Ravens on Melody Chef Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
There’s something to be said for the power of a single voice and solo guitar as far as expressing emotion, concern, or consternation. In Kyle Frederick’s case, the proof is in his new LP, Silence, You Ravens, his seventh album to date and, surprisingly perhaps, his most emphatic outing to date. While Kyle Frederick alone is responsible for all the music — he forgoes any overdubs or additional musicians — he still manages to convey subtle variations in tone and texture. Longtime co-producer Byron House, who’s worked with Frederick for over 30 years, is partly responsible, but the fact that the new album avoids the usual fragile ‘folk-isms’ that usually accompany this same sort of set-up is a credit to its creator entirely.
That said, there’s little shift in the spectrum of the sound overall. Songs such as “Next Time”, “I’m Happy”, “A Beautiful Scar”, and “Winnowing” reflect an unassuming, matter-of-fact attitude that seems practically nonchalant given Frederick’s focus on relaying his personal perspective. Nevertheless, “Lunch at Auschwitz” sounds like something Bruce Cockburn might rail on about, while “Pocket Full of Minutes” ups the anticipation to a heightened degree. “Planet Nine” tells the tale of a well-to-do Everyman, as shared with a certain sardonic edge, one that brings to mind Ray Davies “Well Respected Man” or Paul Simon’s “Richard Cory”.
Still, for all its austere ambiance, Silence, You Ravens does have its occasional lighter moments. Closing track “Dear People Like Me” seems somewhat frivolous, especially compared to the sterner sentiments that pervade the album overall. So too, “Hail Fellow Well Met” takes a turn to singer/songwriter mode, more like a campfire serenade than the burning defiance that intrudes on the otherwise assertive critique that comes across through a selection like “Speaking English”.
Ultimately then, Kyle Frederick manages to avoid the usual tender tappings and all-too-common cliches that an otherwise tepid troubadour might fall victim to. As its title implies, Silence, You Ravens is a staunch and decidedly determined offering, one that leaves no doubt about its maker’s forthright intentions. It’s not exactly easy-listening, but so too, it’s not necessarily angst-inducing either. In other words, there’s little need for a raven’s rebuttal. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Kyle Frederick from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Kyle Frederick website
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