While it is true many feel the music industry is in disarray, it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear a new band or artist that’s not afraid to take chances with their musical expression. With Chicago based Kevin Durr’s latest musical offering “Songbird” it’s clear to me he has surpassed what many consider to be the a-typical musical release. Durr’s music is a homespun blend of roots rock, Americana and soul brings you back. To me Durr’s songs are stories about situations, observations and events that probably have impacted him through the years. He presents these songs in a mixed style of folk, folk jazz, folk alternative, blues and country. Comprised of folk, alternative folk, folk blues and folk jazz, this cd is a tour of many different writing and playing styles. It’s obvious to me Durr recruited some good musicians around the region to help record this record. The result is a rich musical stew, with ingredients from righteous organ to down-home harmonica, and everything in between. From beginning to end “Songbird” gives us an Americana anthem with a string of songs that will keep the listener mesmerized and fully entertained every step of the way. Also present are messages that are uplifting and a vibe that is unmistakably, well “Kevin Durr”. Durr combines many impressive musical styles: like smooth Retro Pop of the 70’s and even modern Pop and Blues, with a splash of traditional Soul Rock, and yep even a smig’ of Country-Pop. Influences include John Mayer, The Band and Eric Clapton. Some pieces I really like are ‘The Fall”, “In My Dreams” and “Home” with their powerful yet simplistic messages. “Songbird” expands the possibilities as a radio hit in the making. The production is also top notch and the playing from all other band members is spot on. One can hear tidbits and Americana fretwork and top shelf fiddles, cello, bass and drums. Durr sings and plays acoustic guitar. There’s even some distorted guitar on “”Black Magic.” Durr gets high marks from me for creating a soothing sonic sound that will make virtually any listener feel right at home. As a vocalist, he delivers a gifted folkish timber as he glides with precision with just enough in the way of technicalities, yet not neglecting soul and twang on the side. On many tracks Durr and company performs a multitude of amazing harmonies and solid guitar playing. If you like Joe Ely, John Prine and Tom Petty I think it’s safe to say you will tumble for Kevin Durr.
Much of Durr’s artistry goes beyond traditional playing and songwriting. Lyrics are also an important component for me whenever I listen and review music. In this aspect he paints you a brilliant visual story between the spoken word and his musical messages of hope, love and the love of life itself. “Songbird” lives up to its name and delivers amazing music for all the senses ad really has no boundaries – like the road of life itself.