©2006 Songdog Records
Review by Lucky Boyd
It’s impossible to deliver an unbiased review of Gaines’ 2006 release. Simply put, Gaines is one of my favorite performers, and surrounded by other favorites like Wayne Wilkerson, Bill Ward, and the inimitable Karen Mal, this disc becomes an instant favorite. The title cut will make you lazy as Gaines blends melodic folk rhythms with a traditional Western trail-riding set of chord progressions. Gary Sapone’s harmonica is absolutely haunting and beautiful. Gaines has some memorable new songs on the disc like “Smilin’ Jack” and “Hey, Mr. Sunshine.” The highlight of the disc is “Einstein’s Violin.” Catch a Ken Gaines show and get the full story behind this song. Truly one of the best songwriters around Ken Gaines scores again with his sophomore CD release. You’ll want to get your copy while you can.
More about Ken Gaines
by Lucky Boyd
Houston's Ken Gaines is a fabulous performer. Gaines is well-read and well-traveled, which speaks to his being able to draw insight and material from the great philosophers, obscure authors, and the vast number of extraordinary characters he's met over the years. His ability to scan countless lives and existences, analyze them with his very soul, and emerge with a flawless song in hand, all without having actually been there, is a songwriter's dream. Gaines will write of his own travels, but his best work captures a moment and makes the listener view themselves introspectively in relation to it rather than simply recount it as one of Ken's own experiences. Ken Gaines has one of those voices that comes along only once in a generation, as smooth when he's engaged in conversation as it is when fully involved in song. Musically, Gaines is solid, with his guitar being complimentary to the lyric, and capable of standing on its own, possessing an extremely high instrumental value. His additional offerings on this site include "NO ONE ELSE," released in 1992 only on cassette and Ken's long awaited debut CD, "REAL MEN." Each song on Gaines' cassette project is brilliantly accompanied by a story. The project was recorded live at a house concert and remains virtually uncut from that magical evening. Gaines' stories are awe-inspiring, mostly humorous and sometimes hauntingly serious, but always a beautiful compliment to the song itself. The CD is a maturation of all the splendor that is now Ken Gaines. A masterful project, laden with wonderful talent like Wayne Wilkerson and fellow MTM member Bill Ward. Ken's music is wonderful, but perhaps an equal quality is his undying love for music and the people who perform it. A pillar of humility, and a "shirt-off-his-back" type, Gaines has commanded the respect of the singer/songwriter community. He is instrumental in providing a venue for lesser-known artists to perform in and he can be found in the crowd supporting local musicians in the Houston area. I've not met many who measure up to Ken Gaines as an artist, a performer, a helper, and a friend. While I have met many wonderful people in this business, I would say that they all, myself included could do much worse than to know and be known by Ken Gaines. Many of his friends have hounded him to start releasing CDs of his wonderful songs, but Ken is mostly content being a friend to those around him. For so long, the cassette was the only recorded work available for public consumption. A remedied tragedy, at last.
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