Singer-guitarist George Kilby Jr. will perform at three venues in the Tri-Lakes area this weekend, including Saranac Lake's First Night celebration.
Kilby Jr., who plays what he calls "rough- cut American music," is primed to release "Six Pack," on Feb. 5, coming from Top Frog Music, which includes special guests from Railroad Earth, as well as Phil Wiggins (Cephas and Wiggins) and Jono Manson, a member of Blues Traveler's "extended family."
Born and raised in Alabama, Kilby has been playing roots-based music for more than 30 years, and has been a permanent fixture of a New York City music scene that embraces everything from blues and folk to Americana, bluegrass and jamband styles. A long stint with legendary bluesman Pinetop Perkins' band gave Kilby a woodshed schooling in the art of performing as well as playing the blues, lessons that he puts to great use on Six Pack.
On "Six Pack," Kilby eschews the traditional 10-12 song album format; instead creating a collection of six singles, each one exploring a different facet of his influences and manifesting in his contemporary roots sound. He moves gracefully from "jamgrass" to Delta blues, making stops along the way at singer/songwriter, roots-rock and folk music. The five originals on the new CD are paired with a scintillating bluegrass take on Cream's classic, "Sunshine of Your Love."
Joining him on the journey is his long-time band, The Road Dogs, consisting of Neil Thomas (keyboard, accordion), Eric Halvorson (drums) and Arturo Baguer (bass). Jono Manson contributed guitar, backing vocals and also produced the opening track, "When the People Sang," Kilby's '60s folk anthem tribute that also features Railroad Earth member, Tim Carbone, on fiddle. "I Love You in Brooklyn," Kilby's ballad salute to New York's colorful borough, showcases writer Neil Thomas' dazzling accordion and Wurlitzer piano magic. And on "Something I Can't Find," which Kilby describes as "bluesy rocker with a trippy side," he and the other pickers flex their six-string chops with a double-guitar riff that recalls The Allman Brothers Band.
"Sunshine of Your Love," produced by Andy Goessling (also of Railroad Earth), who additionally plays various instruments on the track, is arguably the most revelatory song on Six Pack, with it's "grassing" treatment of the iconic Cream '60s rock tune. Upon hearing the song, Brian Robbins of Jambands.com, described it as a "psychedelic porch stomp, with Goessling's dobro putting a new spin on the riff created by Clapton's Gibson SG a new flavor of raunch. It is an absolute hoot."
Saturday: Delta Blue, Main Street, Lake Placid
Sunday: Apres Ski, Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington
Monday (New Year's Eve):Saranac Lake First Night Celebration, Saranac Lake