Review: Kirby Sewell Band – Girl With A New Tattoo

Posted on: Friday, Dec 12, 2014


Kirby Sewell Band – Girl With A New Tattoo

(Smelly Cat Records: SCR 003)

The Calgary based Canadian band first came to a good deal of people’s attention when they performed at the Calgary Lilac Festival, in May 2009 and have taken the stage there every year since, they have regularly left the faces of the audiences with smiles on their faces after each and every performance. Over the next four years the quality of their musical skills has been ever improving and so has their audience support which has resulted in a greater recognition across both the North and South American continents.

Lead singer Kirby first gained his passion for performing when he started singing in the church choir and began to grow during his high school years, especially so when he took the lead in a high school musical.  The rest of this tight little unit includes; a twin guitar sound that comes from Neil Gunhold (who also produces the album) and Morgan Turk, the solid engine room is made up of; Jae Cho, bass and Jim Johnston, drums.

The music that the band so eloquently creates washes over you from the speakers like the warm waters of a south sea island, the soft and gentle sashaying guitars deliver a rich mixture of southern country sounds with the melodies and vocal harmonies that were once delivered by the likes of the Eagles, while the bass and drums instil the atmosphere with fat, juicy and funky insistent rumbling jungle rhythms.

Over the top of all this Kirby’s vocals which possess a highly sensitive vulnerable edge not too dissimilar to Ron Sexsmith, delicately waft and sometimes rollickingly growl about the misfortunes and sometimes successes of life. There are ten tender, tenacious and humorous numbers here and the title track “Girl With A New Tattoo,” must certainly be a contender for the twenty-first century equivalent of Grouch Marx’s “Lydia,(the tattooed lady),”  with its warm and invitingly humorous descriptions of a travelogue across which we can explore (in some detail) of a very fine lady’s living and breathing undulating torso.

The mood changes somewhat with the splendidly evocative old-timey driving acoustic foot-stompin’ “Till, The River Starts To Overflow,” a tale of a man’s many woes that will only diminish when the river washes them away. “The Devil’s In The Detail,” is a funky, jungle rumbling, twin guitar swinging story of infidelity, shuffling along until the crying and writhing guitars mash it up with the infectiously crashing, bashing drumwork.  A dreamy and almost horizontal swirly slide guitar introduces the gentle “Simply Not Enough,” a tender tale of lost love where a suitor fruitlessly waits in the wings; you most definitely feel for Kirby’s emotion laden, forlorn vocals.

The very laidback and funkily undulating guitars of “Stop And Go,” merge seamlessly with the pulsating and deeply grooving bass and drums while Kirby duets with a very fruity and captivating, emerging slide guitar. The funky foot-tapping continues with the highly danceable “$1.11,” a tale of selling your soul to the Devil for a paltry sum and it would seem from his insistent growling that Kirby seriously regrets the decision.

Highly Recommended!


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