Where and When - Blues In Britain
I was surprised to learn that this is the first album by California-based singer Kelly Zirbes and members of her band (including long-time member Perry Robertson) to concentrate solely on the blues. Surprisingly, because I have always regarded Kelly as a fine blues vocalist anyway.
I am still right about that though. ‘Where And When’ is an acoustic album with a stripped-down accompaniment comprising just Doug Pettibone on lead guitar, Perry on rhythm (who has been with Kelly Z more or less since the beginning in the mid-90s), and with David Grover on upright bass, providing a wonderful bottom line for the album throughout.
Above this are Kelly Z’s vocals – sultry, sassy, sexy or sorrowful as required. The small band provides a far more versatile approach than might be thought, on a program of songs including six original compositions and five borrowed numbers. There is a very cohesive sound to the album, and the cover versions provide an insight into Kelly’s influences and inspirations. Ma Rainey is responsible for ‘Jealous Hearted Blues’, written by Lovie Austin, and the lyrically startling ‘Black Eye Blues’ about domestic abuse, there is a lesser-covered Robert Johnson song in ‘Stones In My Passway’, and two unusual borrowings from Howling Wolf, ‘Somebody in My Home’ and ‘Nature’. All have impressive arrangements.
The originals fit seamlessly, from the desolation of ‘Lost’ to the Americana-tinged ‘Heaven’, the assertive ‘Ship’ and the excellent, faster tempo’ed title track. All have fine, thoughtful lyrics.
If you’ve enjoyed Kelly’s Lot before, then you’ll definitely go for this admirable release. If they are a new name to you, you’ll enjoy the pleasure of discovery!
Norman Darwen - BluesinBritain.org
where and when - Blues Blues UK
"...they continue to give that feel of having them sitting right in front of you. This is high standard with top class solos and the subject matter of not spending enough time with each other will resonate with many." - BlueBlues.uk
where and when - Blues Spotting
On this album, Where and When, the blues was chosen for the first time and that turned out to be a very good decision. Because Kelly's Lot has discovered an inspired, sensitive and inspired blues singer in the same Kelly Zirbes. And a wonderfully unobtrusive but unmissable rhythm section in stand-alone bassist David Grover and swinging rhythm guitar from Perry Robertson and lead guitarist Doug Pettibone. The drummer is not to be missed in the repertoire on the album: six originals and five covers of classics by Howlin' Wolf, Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson and Lovie Austin. Do yourself a big favor, pour a nice glass of wine, beer or whiskey (water is also allowed!), and play this album with a candle lit and the headphones on.
Where and When - Down The Crossroads
Kelly Zirbes’s band, which hails from the Los Angeles area has been playing its trade for the last 25 years, mostly as a blues rock outfit. Where and When sees them stripping things back, performing 11 acoustic blues songs with resonator-slide guitar and Zirbes’s gritty voice to the fore. It’s fabulous stuff, six originals written by Kelly and rhythm guitarist Perry Robertson that evoke the blues of a bygone age and five reworked traditional blues songs, including a terrific version of Robert Johnson’s Stones in My Passway. - We were chosen as the 25 Best Blues Albums of 2021. - Down The Crossroads
Where and When - Blues News Germany
...."Where And When" has a lot to offer. Six original compositions alternate with five traditional blues covers by Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson, Lovie Austin and Howlin' Wolf two tracks taken over: the easy-going "Somebody In My Home" and the ..Nature "reduced to the pure blues. Kelly Z (Zirbes) and Perry Robertson (gtr) have been together since 1996 and are back with the guitarist and songwriter Doug Pettibone worked together; David Grover plays the double bass. Royer and Mojave microphones were used for all instruments. These are characterized by extremely low self-noise and are particularly suitable for acoustic recordings. That Fool "creates a sentimental resonance that carries the barely fathomable sadness of the blues. This contrasts with the title track “Where And When”, “Ship” and above all “Heaven”. Compositions that are carried entirely by Kelly Z's vocals, in which the guitars creep up lovingly with frontal vitality and make it clear that one broad ancestry of the blues leads to gospel music. Blues News Germany - JP
Where and When - DJ Review
"Love the clean, accurate and only lightly compressed audio on Where and When. Excellent balances, and much nuance is present in the instruments and Kelly's pure and sinuous singing. I think she has done the best female interpretation of Howlin' Wolf's protean vocals that I have encountered on Somebody in My Home. It was all a joy in my headphones." - Dave Gallaher - Talkin' the Blues with Microwave Dave WLRH FM / WJAB FM Huntsville, AL WUTC FM Chattanooga, TN
Where and When - Crossroads Blues Society
......This is a very solid acoustic set of music. I liked the tunes presented. There is a good mix of originals and solid covers. Musicianship is tight. I have heard the group on another release be a high energy act. Enjoy this release on a late-night listen. If you want to party check out some of their other releases. Crossroads Blues Society - Mark Nelson
Where and When - BluesTown
"The fact that you want to appear powerful as a blues band does not always mean that you necessarily need electric guitars and a lot of decibels. This new album by the American band Kelly's Lot from Los Angeles proves that." More at BluesTown
Where and When - Blues In The South
Kelly’s Lot have been together for 27 years now and started out primarily as a folk influenced band but, over the years they have delved their musical toes into many other genres. Here, they are in their comfort zone of acoustic Blues....The intimacy of the numbers here is evident from the emotional resonator strikes, to the gentleness of the stroking bass line, the vocals range from impassioned desperation to delicate strands of hope and joy. Greatly endorsed! Brian Harman More at Blues In The South
Where and When - Keys and Chords
A 5 Star review. (Translated) - "...The release 'Where And When' is an acoustic poem. No heavy drum parts but rather modest acoustic songs. The passionate 'Stronger' may pave the way. Kelly's flawless voice is approached in a heavenly way by those acoustic guitar strings. From Howlin' Wolf they borrowed 'Somebody In My Home' and the swinging 'Nature' for the occasion. A final feudalism can be found in Robert Johnson's 'Stones In My Passway' and Lovie Austin's 'Jealous Hearted Blues'. Kelly also turns out to be an epicurean in songs such as 'Heaven'. And the original Delta blues caput 'Lost', the tantalizing 'Where And When' and the sadness from 'That Fool' nail themselves endlessly between all these handsome cover versions. And 'Black Eye Blues', originally by Ma Rainey, is also spelled out on Kelly Lot's corpus. With the closing 'Ship' unfortunately comes an end to what turns out to be a refreshing album. Good looking!" http://www.keysandchords.com/album-review-blog/kellys-lot-where-and-when