Review by Peter merrett from PBS 107.7FM

Peter Merrett is from PBS 106.7FM Melbourne, Australia

Thank you kind Peter! For your time and your generosity

 

ANOTHER SKY BY KELLY'S LOT 

*** Track 1. - "Butterfly" Composed by Kelly Zirbes. 

Lilting Folk fills the speakers with a freshness and beguiling acoustic intro from Doug Pettibone on mandolin and Perry Robertson on acoustic guitar weaving a spider's web over the introduction. This creates the perfect soundscape for Kelly Zirbes's sublimely exquisite vocals to enhance  the spider's web even more as the song progresses into the realms of a country two step. Instrumentally this is simply marvellous what with the most perfect of charts that enable the musicians to extend themselves and produce scintillating performances. The wonderful acoustic guitar  and mandolin  resonate so beautifully throughout then to to be complimented by the electric guitar from Doug Pettibone. The mesmerizing cadence is held perfectly by drummer Art Mendoza and upright bassist Paul Kennedy. Doug Pettibone also adds to the brilliance of Kelly Zirbes's vocals with their amazing backing vocals that are like butterfly wings fluttering throughout the mix. Adding to this masterful mix  is the omni-present tantalising sound of Bobby Orgel on the scintillating Hammond B3. A truly mesmerizing song that is so complete in every way with a performance that is of the highest order but just as we have come to expect from a band such as Kelly'S Lot, a true rarity in this day and age. 

*** Track 2. - "I Will Find You Again" Composed by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Perry Robertson on acoustic guitar provides the intro and platform for Kelly Zirbes's impassioned vocals that call out from the roof tops to a lost love or is it to a lost life style. Gritty and riveting with a driving powerful rhythm section keeping this harder edge cadence through drummer Art Mendoza and electric bassist Matt McFadden who have a strong grip on this one. The stunning and powerful electric guitar runs and solo are courtesy of guitar maestro Rob Zucca who certainly leaves an indelible mark on this one. The soundscape is broadened and made even more complex with the addition  of Aubrey Richmond's violin which adds a spectral feel and lifts the sound higher than the rooftops  into the stratosphere. Coming out of the darkness is that most recognizable of sounds and that is the Hammond B3 here played with a demonic conviction by Bobby Orgel summoning up every emotion the instrument can evoke. Jeri Goldenhair and Doug Pettibone again become the celestial choir as they bring in their sublime voices that elevate the range of the vocal charts to dizzying heights. This is such a dramatic and powerful song but one that also has an inherent darkness but the pathos and the passion certainly is undeniable. A masterly composition from Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

*** Track 3. - "Foolish Try" Composed by Kelly Zirbes and Doug Pettibone. 

Stunning Tex Mex feel that is just so enjoyable here what with that South of the Border cadence and instrumentation. Kelly Zirbes has a wimsome retrospective lost love tonality to her voice that is simply stunning, beguiling would be better as she takes us away with her inner most feelings of lost love. The acoustic setting here is just sublime and paints the most gorgeous of aural imagery with the rhythm section of drummer/percussionist Art Mendozza and the upright bass of Paul Kenedy so gently holding the cadence in this wonderful rolling  sun drenched tempo. One can feel the wind across the prairies and into the front door of the cantina.  Doug Pettibone captivates with some stunning mandolin that just resonates throughout the entire song. Perry Robertson is absolutely exquisite on acoustic guitar as he  lays down perfectly placed riffs and solos that are tantalizing to the listener. In keeping with the Tex Mex sound the addition of the accordion is paramount and here Phil Parlapiano is oh so right for the song and his contribution is achingly stunning. This certainly is a masterclass of a performance but also a masterclass of composing by Kelly Kirbes and Doug Pettibone. 

*** Track 4. - "Freedom" Composed by Kelly Zirbes. 

Perry Robertson's acoustic guitar and Aubrey Richmond's violin combine for this most mesmerizing if not haunting of introductions to this song and their beautiful stunning playing continues on through this acoustic moody angst laden masterpiece. Kelly Zirbes's vocals have a sternness to them and there is a touch of despair also as if there has been a lot of pain endured  through lost freedoms. A cry from the darkness of oppression if you like but the pathos is gut wrenching here and not for the faint hearted. This is a confronting song and one that makes us look in the mirror to confront reality as to what is and has happened in our world that we blithely look past or just ignore. To hear the impassioned plea from Kelly Zirbes in such a stripped down setting is filled with gravitas and one that certainly can't, no, must not be denied. This is what one has to describe with all honesty as a masterpiece of composing by Kelly Zirbes and is a song we all need to hear 

*** Track 5. - "Took It Back" Composed by Kelly Zirbes and Doug Pettibone. 

Doug Pettibone starts this one off with shimmering electric guitar that has a real presence about it and then commences to lay down solid runs that are technically brilliant all the while mesmerizing the listener with his complex playing that leads into a solid in your face solo that shows his true playing chops. Kelly Zirbes follows her co-composer with her powerful and plaintive vocals that have been turned up a notch to overdrive but there is a vulnerability about her here that adds to her alluring style. In keeping with such a powerful guitar onslaught on every level the rhythm section equally needs to have a pounding controlled tempo and here that is expertly maintained by drummer Art Mendoza and electric bassist Matt McFadden who are in the moment right from the start. A very powerful song that Kelly Zirbes takes control of right from the start and doesn't let go of at all. 

*** Track 6. - "Tangled featuring Doug Pettibone" Composed by Kelly Zirbes. 

Now this is simply a delight to say the least as the combination of Kelly Zirbes and Doug Pettibone singing as a duo is a match made in heaven and one that just feels as it was always meant to be. Then you have the most exquisite element of Kelly Zirbes whistling which in itself is a lost art these days and this just adds to the sheer beauty of the song that is just beguiling to say the least. The intro from accordionist Phil Parlapiano sets the tone and one is instantly transfixed with the song as he weaves his reeds throughout the song like a minstrel at a fair. The rhythm section of drummer Art Mendoza and upright bassist Paul Kenedy  delicately carry the cadence here as if holding butterfly wings such is their ability to play in the moment. The acoustic sound is complimented by the acoustic guitar of Perry Robertson who joyfully riffs throughout never over playing but rather floating along in the mix like clouds in the sky. This is the perfect song to lay in the meadow on a sunny day and watch the clouds scuttle  across the sky without a care in the world. 

*** Track 7. - "The Irish Luck" Composed by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Just one look at the title tells you that this will be filled with Celtic revelry and and good times. Kelly Zirbes takes us across the seas to the Emerald Isle and rolling green fields with a good old fashioned knees up with her joyful vocals. The song is even resplendent with the most Irish of instruments and here Aviva Maloney has her penny whistle at it's Irish best for what ails you. Now we have the penny whistle so we need the accordion and  here we have the best with Phil Parlapiano who has his reeds playing at a raucous cadence suitable for dancing. With a rhythm like this the rhythm section obviously work harder than a one armed paper hanger but drummer Art Mendoza and upright bassist Paul Kenedy Irish Whiskey in hand have it completely in time and suitable for your pleasure and dancing. Rounding out this most infectious of songs are the wonderful acoustic guitarist Perry Robertson and guitarist Doug Pettibone who just join in the rollicking fun and the results are brilliant to say the least. It's not an Irish knees up if you don't have a chorus and here we have the wonderful Jeri Goldenhar and Doug Pettibone joining in the fun and frivolity of this most enjoyable of songs. 

*** Track 8. - "Simple Man" Composed by Kelly Zirbes. 

Very moody with a French Jazz inflection about it as  Kelly Zirbes transforms into a cigarette smoking Paris café set chanteuse beguiling her audience with her wiles hidden behind a hand held veil. With the clinking of glasses and waiters hovering around the crowed tables in and out of the patron filled dance floor she weaves her tale from the bandstand. Wonderful percussion from Art Mendoza helps set a passionate feel to the song and the moodiness of the song is tangible to say the least. Phil Parlapiano is a maestro on accordion and here again he provides a masterclass painting a landscape of intricate colours and patterns such is his brilliance. The rhythm is just so right and along with Art Mendoza's percussion work we have the stunning upright bass from David Grover who exquisitely carries this intricate tempo with ease. The addition of Bill Johnston's clarinet is sublime and is absolutely essential for the moodiness of the song and the soundscape that it paints. Doug Pettibone's guitar playing is so subtle but also perfect for the mix as he adds to the pathos of the song and the depth of the sound. The composing of this song is just so mature and displays a wonderful understanding of how to paint images in one's mind with lyrics and then with excellent charts. Once again we have a mesmerizing piece of music from Kelly's Lot. 

*** Track 9. - "Lock Me Up" Composed by Kelly Zirbes, Perry Robertson and Doug Pettibone.

Here the band change direction once again with a sixties sound resplendent with a guitar sound heavy on reverb and tremolo from Doug Pettibone that is just so bloody good and he holds you on every chord and riff then shakes your soul with his whammy bar. Yes indeed this is surf music in all of it's glory.  Kelly Zirbes has that flighty girlie sound of the sixties and she nails it without  ever sounding corny whatsoever and in fact her frailty here is very fetching. The surf style of rhythms are absolutely at the beach riding a wave of excellence courtesy of bassist Matt McFadden and drummer Art Mendoza who certainly have their feet in the sand with this one. If you are going to attempt a very definite style of music from the past and then compose the song, then perform it then you better make sure you are at the right beach or you are going to have sand kicked in your face. Kelly Zirbes, Perry Robertson and Doug Pettibone need not worry as they have caught the wave of the day with this one. 

*** Track 10. - "Christmas Is Calling" Composed by Kelly Zirbes. 

What with a year that has been almost ripped away from us this is a very pertinent song and a reminder that we have to remember that life has gone on and time hasn't stood still. Contact has to be kept and maintained no matter the circumstances that caused the separation. This is an emotional angst laden song with Kelly Zirbes at her very best vocally calling out to all of us to remember those we have lost touch with and our need to call them home again.  A deeply personal message it is. The rhythm section on this one is particularly boisterous with powerful drumming from Art Mendoza and  solid electric bass from  Matt McFadden. Swirling around in the mix is the unmistakable but infectious groove of the Hammond B3 played by Bobby Orgel and his contribution is electric. Doug Pettibone has his guitar at the most perfect of position in the mix and plays a stunning solo that lights up the track as does his wonderful flourishes. Once again we have another example of the sheer brilliance in Kelly Zirbes song writing credentials and they just get better and better as time goes by. 

*** Track 11. - "Sleep On It Tonight featuring Rick Monroe" Composed by Kelly Zirbes and Doug Pettibone. 

Here we have another duet but this time with Rick Monroe on what is a pure country inspired song that is filled with reverence and pathos. The coupling of the two singers makes for a perfect country offering as they both have the most divine of voices that can intertwine sublimely. Adding to that country feel Doug Pettibone plays the hauntingly brilliant pedal steel and that takes us to the wild west out on the prairies under a star filled night beside the camp fire. This is an achingly beautiful song that just builds and builds in grandeur throughout and the performance level is outer worldly. Perry Robertson's acoustic guitar is simply gorgeous throughout as he plays in and around the pedal steel from Doug Pettibone with stunning runs that climb to the heavens then to  plummet down to the ground as the pathos takes us on this this lovelorn journey.  The rhythm section has beautifully crafted the most beguiling of tempos and congratulations must go to drummer Art Mendoza and upright bassist David Grover who are exquisite on this one. Such a heart breaker song it is with the most perfect of performances from Kelly Zirbes, Rick Monroe and all of Kelly'S Lot who have combined to show just how good Country music can and should be when performed from the heart with complete conviction. Kelly Zirbes you and Doug Pettibone have composed a song that l feel every singer in Nashville would want to sing but would be intimidated to do so upon hearing this piece of aural art. 

*** Track 12. - "Hurricane" Composed by Kelly Zirbes. 

Playing the Blues or for that fact singing it holds no fears for Kelly Zirbes as this little lady can sing it all and take it in her stride with confidence. Opening this one up with some Chicago flair is harmonica ace Frank "Cisco" Hinojosa who then proceeds to rip this one up with the most astute of playing displaying perfect control on the reeds as he sets his Mississippi Saxophone in overdrive. Rob Zucca takes on the guitar duties here and his prowess is instantly on show and his tone is withering as he punches out cutting riffs, runs and tantalizing solos with total control. The additional guitar in the mix is the infinitely talented Doug Pettibone and here his playing adds to the potency and dynamics of the guitar sound. Bobby Orgel is back and he has the majestic Hammond B3 and the Lesley Speaker in overdrive weaving in and  out, over and under the mix with his passionate playing. The  rhythm here is electric and all of this needs a rudder and that is provided by the rock solid in your pocket drummer Art Mendoza and bassist Matt McFadden who muscle this one along. Solid, solid Blues that is more than capably handled by one of the most diverse and capable bands that can't be pigeon holed what so ever, such is the sheer brilliance to play whatever they so desire to play. 

Welcome back Kelly's Lot with your latest self release "Another Sky"! Once again you have chosen to be genre defying and stayed true to who you are and that is one of the most talented and diverse genre splitting bands on the scene today. I knew right from the start that each and every song would paint a completely different song from the previous or the next one to come so for that reason l decided that l wouldn't review your album by listening to it first. I wanted the excitement of hearing each and every song for the first time and enjoying the musical journey immediately as l put finger to keyboard. This l found added to the excitement of each and every song and the anticipation of what was to come next. Each of the twelve songs were complete masterpieces and told stories that painted  so many murals of landscapes or life's stories effortlessly that had me transfixed totally from start to finish. Let's break it down a bit now and start with Kelly Zirbes herself, lead singer extraordinaire and composer or co-composer with Perry Robertson and Doug Pettibone. Kelly Zirbes is one of those artists that rarely come along these days in music as she possesses this finest of voices and one she has complete control over as she displayed when she sang in Spanish on track 3 and then for good measure provided the lost art of whistling. Her range and tonality is certainly sublime and is a voice that stays with you. The band certainly is made up of a coterie of remarkable artists within themselves comprising of Perry Robertson acoustic guitar, Doug Pettibone guitars/pedal steel/mandolin/background vocals/ vocals on track 6 the duet with Kelly  Zirbes, Art Mendoza drums/percussion, Matt McFadden electric bass, Rob Zucca guitar tracks 2 & 12, Bill Johnson clarinet, Bobby Orgel Hammond B3 tracks 1/2/10/12, Aviva Maloney penny whistle, Frank "Cisco" Hinojosa harmonica, Paul Kennedy upright bass tracks 1/3/6/7, David Grover upright bass tracks 8 & 11, Aubrey Richmond violin, Phil Parlopiano accordion, Jeri Goldenhar backing vocals and Rick Monroe lead vocals in the duet with Kelly Zerbes on track 11. Combined these seasoned performers provided a magnificent musical and inspired bed for each and every song and were effortlessly able to adapt to the intricacies of each and every song and the genre splitting contained in them. The production level is of the highest of standards and congratulations must go Perry Robertson for the recording, Fred Paragano for the mixing, mastering by Mike Milchner and arrangements by Doug Pettibone and Perry Robertson.  All in all on my first listen l was just transfixed and excited by the album as it was everything l was hoping to hear but quite frankly it was much more. Where do l place the album in your collection and in what genre? I don't know, so maybe we need a new category just for Kelly's Lot and that is "Brilliant"! So can we start that as a new genre "Brilliant", sounds right to me and l can guarantee your very first listen will give you a dose of Kelly's Lot fever with the only cure being the need to listen to "Another Sky" over and over again! So go and catch the fever and love every moment of it, you will thank me for it and you wont want a cure for what ails ya with this one. 

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*** KELLY'S LOT  "Another Sky". 

* Label: Self Release.. 

* Kelly Zirbes: Vocals, Whistle. 

* Perry Robertson: Acoustic Guitar. 

* Doug Pettibone: Guitars, Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Background vocals and vocals on track 6. 

* Art Mendoza: Drums, Percussion. 

* Matt McFadden: Electric Bass. 

* Rob Zucca: 2nd Guitar track 12. 

* Bill Johnston: Clarinet track 8. 

* Bobby Orgel: Hammond B3 tracks 1,2, 10 & 12. 

* Aviva Maloney: Penny Whistle track 7. 

* Frank "Cisco" Hinojosa: Harmonica track 12. 

* Paul Kennedy: Upright Bass tracks 1, 3, 6 & 7. 

* David Grover: Upright Bass tracks 8 & 11. 

* Aubrey Richmond: Violin tracks 2, 4 & 7. 

* Phil Parlapiano: Accordion tracks 3, 6, 7 & 8. 

* Jeri Goldenhar: Background Vocals tracks 2 & 7. 

* Ric Monroe: Vocals track 11.