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Can't Take My Soul - Peter Merrett PBS106.7

KELLY'S LOT  "Can't Take My Soul". 

 

* Label: Self. 

* Kelly Zirbes: Vocals, and Acoustic Guitar on track 5. 

* Perry Robertson: Guitars. 

* Matt McFadden: Bass. 

* Mike Sauer: Drums. 

* Michael Mason: Drums on tracks 4 and 9. 

* Bobby Orgel: Keys on tracks 2, 3, 8 and 9. 

* Rob Zucca: Lead Guitar track 6. 

* Frank Hinojosa: Harmonica track 7. 

* Jean Paul Monshe: Accordion track 12. 

* Eddie Baytos: Accordion and Washboard track 4. 

* Jeri Goldenhar: Background Vocals. 

* Andrew Mushin: Background Vocals. 

* Jenna Mushin: Background Vocals. 

* Aviva Maloney: Background Vocals. 

* Jean-Francois Thomas: Vocals track 6. 

*** Track 1. - "All I Ever Want Is The Blues". Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Calling out what would have to be the mantra for every Blues fan Kelly lays down the Blues Gospel with this wonderful tribute to all of the past masters. This music had to start somewhere and the roll call is formidable to say the least and along the way it gave birth to so many styles and sub genres. Here we have a "rockin' " tribute with Robertson's twangy guitar holding court. Kelly's voice is growling and baying at the moon with her inimitable style that oozes power and passion perfectly encompassing every great female singer of the Blues from the past one hundred years. The band rocks along with a solid rhythm section made up of bassist McFadden and drummer Mike Sauer. Certainly  the perfect tribute written by Zirbes herself and guitarist Robertson. Now this is how you make an impression!. 

*** Track 2. - "All Hope Ain't Lost" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Smokey Blues with a very strong political message in a time of uncertainty. Zirbes has lowered her voice into a lower register that produces a rather angst ridden sound and timbre to her voice. The expressiveness is tangible as is the sheer raw emotion. A very strong vocal offering indeed from Zirbes. The orchestration certainly is equal to the task and is exceptional with McFadden and Sauer's rhythm section particularly in control of the cadence with quite a firmness that is warranted to the songs style. Robertson's guitar is very lithe as he riffs effortlessly throughout the mix in a rather restrained manor then unleashes sheer brilliance in his solos. Guest Bobby Orgel on keys absolutely shines throughout and is simply brilliant. The production on this one is absolutely stellar. 

*** Track 3. - "Alyssa" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

This we have had the pleasure of hearing previously as it was released as a single but to hear this gorgeous slow Blues in the complete album setting changes the context of the song in some way. Zirbes's vocal skills are certainly fully on show with this potent song and she revels in the self penned with Robertson lyrics fully extending herself to deliver a tour de force of singing. That growl in her voice is something many a singer desires but will never have but Zirbes has it naturally and in the Blues it is a potent weapon in your singing arsenal. A wonderful loping Blues with stunning guitar from Robertson that is not overplayed or filled with histrionics but rather deftly placed runs and solos as this is about the voice and the lyrics. Adding to the incomparable guitar work McFadden and Sauer are brilliant with their work as the rhythm section. Unshakeable, powerful and potent. Orgel once again adds his Gospel inspired keys to which a Gospel inspired choir of Goldenhar, A. Mushin, J. Mushin and Maloney soar to the heavens in support of Zirbes voice. A beautiful tribute to a very special brave young lady. Absolutely brilliant song and presentation. Simply gorgeous Blues indeed. 

*** Track 4. - "Woe Is Me" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Time for a good ole knees up Cajun style and this one is certainly gonna kick the dust up offa the floor. Brilliant engaging make you smile and make you dance Cajun music that always lifts the spirits. The perfect title for the song about being so sad and worrying about your bad luck. Hey come on you can't feel bad when Eddie Baytos has the accordion and washboard out and swingin'. Hey look your toes are tappin'. Zirbes has so much fun in her voice and expressiveness in her vocals that are just so enjoyable that you just can't sit still. Hey l'm singing along with you Kelly thanks to having the song lyrics in your album booklet. What a hoot we are having. Pass the jug will ya! In keeping with the joyful punchy Cajun sound you need a punchy rhythm section and on this one Michael Mason on drums joins bassist matt McFadden. Not to be out done Robertson lays down some very cool guitar as this party certainly high steps into top gear. Now l feel oh so good, so thank-you Kelly's Lot!!! 

*** Track 5. - "Safe And Warm" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

This one certainly changes direction  what with Zirbes on acoustic guitar with Robertson. Gorgeous sound with Zirbes vocals, like honey as she caresses you with her tone and exquisite phrasing. What a incredible slow Blues that harkens back to the thirties and as was the want back them orchestration is kept to a minimum. McFadden and Sauer's rhythm section is subtle and in fact so perfectly modulated into the mix one would and rightly say that this was indeed a vintage recording. Now for me this truly is a tour de force and one that is perfect in every way. Bravo Kelly's Lot. 

*** Track 6. - "Rise Up (Leve-Toi)" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Wildman of French Blues one Jean-Francois Thomas makes for a mesmerising duet partner for Zirbes in this burning love and political inspired song. The combination of English and French language add to the potent pathos of the song and the political overtones of French revolution. Zirbes holds her own with such a powerful singer in Thomas and she matches him growl for growl. Throughout guest guitarist Rob Zucca is sublime as he riffs with abandon all over the top and bottom then displays his immense talents with his solos. As one would expect the rhythm section has to display a brutish force about it in keeping with the feel and pathos of the song. McFadden and Sauer certainly deliver the perfect rhythm section. One could easily dismiss this track as a curiosity at first but after listening just once you are left in no doubt that it is one serious Blues track. 

Track 7. - "Broke Myself" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Wonderful hard driving R&B with this one with stunning stop time style vocals from Zirbes that are forceful and potent. Once again Zirbes delivers a in your face take no prisoners style of vocals that just grab you by the scruff of the neck and don't let go. In keeping with this sound guest Frank Hinojosa opens up the reeds of his Mississippi Saxophone or harmonica if you don't mind and lays down some of the sexiest and greasiest runs put down on tape for your listening pleasure. Rhythm section alumni McFadden and Sauer certainly drive this one with a very masculine cadence that is just perfectly balanced for the song. Robertson rounds out this extremely bold brash Bluesy R&B offering on guitar and man this one has just got it. 

*** Track 8. - "Let It Breathe" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Sunny breezy So-Cal feel with a gorgeous acoustic guitar from Perryman. Zirbes's vocals are sublime and her phrasing is subtle and quite sublime. To say her control is mesmerising would be an understatement as this is truly the work of a singers singer as she caresses all the senses of the listener. An angst ridden song that she penned with Robertson that is so suited to her voice. Just when one expects this to be all acoustic guitar Robertson adds some subtle electric guitar for good measure. Guest Bobby Orgel returns with another tour de force on keyboards and he shines throughout. Even though this is what appears to be a gentle song the cadence builds and builds into a monumentally powerful crescendo before dropping back down into a stripped back acoustic offering. From the amazing vocals of Zirbes, the song and the orchestration one can only be in a state of euphoria after hearing a song of this magnitude. 

*** Track 9. - "Dirt" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

For me this song has Zirbes laying her soul open to the world and her heart on her sleave totally vulnerable to the whatever the world may do to her. Cutting, hard as nails lyrics that have a touch of venom in them that has Zirbes's vocals in a pleading vulnerable style. One can imagine her clutching at her heart in an attempt to protect it from all that is wrong and nasty in the world. The cadence of this song is so very dramatic like a Shakespearian play condensed into a mere four and a half minutes. This is so unlike any song l have heard and one that makes an instant impact on you. The orchestration is perfectly charted for the song and adds to the theatre of the lyrics and vocals. McFadden and Mason's rhythm section is prominent and importantly by being so add to that spectacle in sound. Robertson's guitar is a symphony in itself as he is like a orchestral conductor in full flight delivering a full movement in a short moment in time. In keeping with this majestic sound Orgel's keyboards command attention as he fills out the mix perfectly. 

*** Track 10. - "Little Bit Of This" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Not one to sit back and just do an album by the numbers here Zirbes returns to her Folk roots. Wow one can easily understand as to just how popular she was as a Folk singer as her beautiful voice resonates perfectly in this style. When you have such an amazing talent as a singer as she does it comes as no surprise that she can effortlessly change styles and produce the perfect offering. In keeping with the Folk style Robertson compliments her voice exquisitely on acoustic guitar. This joyful self penned piece by both Zirbes and Robertson is the perfect example of their complete understanding of each other as artists. The absolute feel good song for today. 

*** Track 11. - "Can't Take My Soul" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

Zirbes certainly isn't afraid to change what she is doing when it comes to recording what with this rockin' piece of Californian garage surf punk rock 'n' roll. Flip up the collar and get the snarl on shimmy and shakin' at the beach. What a fun in your face change of direction it is as it conjures up the sixties and later sounds of the Cramps and other groups. Robertson certainly is enjoying the freedom he has on this one and his guitar is perfectly in sync to that cool and crazy time. Zirbes's has the right amount of attitude in her delivery to get this one just right and suitably in your face. McFadden and Sauer have the rhythm section on wipe out mode as they unleash a barrage of craziness. Hand claps and crazy cheering complete the sound as the twist is the dance to do. 

*** Track 12. - "Mon Ami" Written by Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson. 

French is the language of love and seduction for us that can't speak it. Here Zirbes displays a firm grasp of that very language of love, thankfully singing in French and English. A very seductive song that is so authentic is sound what with the obligatory sound of the accordion from guest Jean Paul Monshe. Simple but also complex authentic orchestration add to the sound that conjures up so many images of the city of lights. Wonderful drumming from Sauer and bass from McFadden are just perfectly placed in the mix and the rhythm section as such is just as it should be. Robertson's guitar is there but this is French mon ami and it is about the voice, the seductive whistling and the accordion. Maybe Kelly Zirbes is our "Little Sparrow" by chance? 

Wow, wow, wow what a fabulous album this is and Kelly's Lot have presented us with a masterpiece of Blues, Folk and numerous other related styles. Not one to merely do an album by the numbers Kelly's Lot present us with a album that takes you on an exquisite musical journey of discovery that showcased Kelly Zirbes's amazing voice. She processes a voice that is of rare complexity and timbre, one that can't be copied but has to be inherently part of your soul. From song to song, note to note one could only marvel at her phrasing and control. Along with Perry Robertson Kelly Zirbes have combined to write twelve amazing songs, all worthy as to be a single release. That being said there is not a track one could say is not worthy of being on this album. A case of the old saying that this is "all killer, no filler". An old chestnut but an appropriate statement with regards to "Can't Take My Soul". The complexity of each song and then the simplicity of some songs is so very enjoyable so much so to make the experience of listening to the album unforgettable. To complete the album a band is needed and here we have an amazing band consisting of drummer Matt McFadden, drummer Mike Sauer, Michael Mason drummer, keyboardist Bobby Orgel, Rob Zucca lead guitar (track 6), Frank Hinojosa harmonica, Eddie Baytos accordion and washboard, Jean Paul Monshe accordion,  background vocalists Jeri Goldenhar, Andrew Mushin, Jenna Mushin and Aviva Maloney.  Plus guest vocalist Jean-Francois Thomas. This stellar line-up has certainly combined to produce the most perfect of Blues albums and one that will be a firm favourite with every old and new Blues fan. We are privileged to have bands like Kelly's Lot on the scene today produce their brand of original Blues music. I don't think l can recommend this release enough other than to say "do yourself a favour and get a copy, you wont be able to sleep without it"! - Peter Merrett PBS106.7 Melbourne Australia

Mary 4 Music - Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro

Let me be one of the first to say "Happy Silver Anniversary" to Kelly and her Lot. Amazing as it is, in just a few short months (October), Kelly Z and her band mates - be it one, or up to seven of them - will be celebrating twenty-five years performing. Take a bow guys, that's something to be proud of. As a matter of fact, take a second bow, because releasing fourteen albums in that period of time - one about every twenty-one months - is another amazing feat. 

As mentioned, "Can't Take My Soul" - which contains twelve original tracks of various blues related styles - is indeed the fourteenth release for Kelly's Lot. On it, the band consists of Kelly Zirbes on vocals, acoustic guitar and whistling; Perry Robertson - her partner from pretty much day one - on guitars; Matt McFadden on bass; and Michael Sauer on drums. Other musicians involved include: Michael Mason on drums; Bobby Orgel on keys; Rob Zucca on lead guitar; Frank Hinojosa on harmonica; Jean Paule Monshe on accordion; Eddie Baytos on accordion and washboard; Jean-Francois Thomas on vocals; and Jeri Goldenhar, Andrew Mushin, Jenna Mushin and Aviva Maloney on background vocals. 

The disc opens with a smoker titled "All I Ever Want Is The Blues" and as Kelly mentions Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray, Etta James, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Bonnie Rait, it's quite evident that the people who gave them to her are the very ones we all need to thank for doing the same for us.  

More at http://www.mary4music.com/CD82.html#CDKellysLot1

MusikMan - live in brussels

Roadhouse rock and upbeat blues is the smoky flavor you get when you pick up a Kelly’s Lot album. Formed in 1995 by singer Kelly Zirbes after playing for family and friends, she embarked on an international music career that has spanned several releases and multiple live performances. Live in Brussels was released in Belgium and in the United States. After touring France and the UK in late 2013, the band will soon begin a new recording for a full band album introducing keys and a horn section. The band consists of Kelly Zirbes (songwriting, vocals), Peter Robinson (composer, keyboards), Matt McFadden (bass) and Rob Zucca (guitar). 

Live albums can sometimes be a fifty-fifty shot. Some are good and you get the emotion of the band. Some make you want to hide in the closet and turn the album into a coaster. Live in Brussels is thankfully the former. I listen to music while I write. Most of the time the sound blends into the background and becomes part of my story in one way or another. This album took me to another place-a smoky blues café. How wonderful. The Americana and Southern roadhouse rock sound of this live album took me out my world and into Kelly’s. Sultry female vocals and vibrant percussion and guitar led me down the road to perdition and I was thrilled to be on the journey. 

“Taking Time” or “Coffee” is a morning song that wakes you up as sure as its name. This piece should be my mantra! A writer’s life incarnate!  Somewhat familiar in the background melody, this song rockets up and gets you moving like a double shot of espresso. Deadlines, madness…and then the thought of a lover stops time and shifts things back into focus. Guitar swings out, Southern rock style and the warm pull of the percussion slides down my throat like my favorite salted caramel mocha and I smile. This song rocks.  

“Tired” surrounds you with curling guitar riffs and smoking hot bass. Joplin style vocals growl from Kelly Z. bringing the listener right in the center of the action. Soul searing lyrics of loss and a want for love burn from the center of this song. Southern rock meets the blues and I didn’t want it to end. 

“Take This Heart” has to be one of my favorites on the album. Kelly’s vocals ease their way into place with a steady percussion and guitar element. Morphing into a gritty performance of longing, I was enthralled. Every emotion comes through, screaming and loud. Guitar riffs flair and bend the piece into a complex weave of harmony and substance.  

Live from Brussels is an album that illustrates the blues and rock styles of Kelly’s Lot. Known for their Americana roots rock style, this band is headed for great things. Internationally known and ready to step back into the studio, I am excited to see they are getting a horn section and will also be adding some keys to the mix. Five stars with flames and this band is worth every second. Earthy tones, vibrant percussion, rocking guitar and bass with vocals that will curl your toes…what more can you ask for? Kelly Z. and her crew are going on my bands to watch list and I eagerly await their next album. - Dana Wright

musicucansee - rescue

Kelly’s Lot is an outfit fronted by Kelly Z – Kelly Zirbes – an adventurous blues traveler with a taste for everything from a crying country jukebox to get-down funk. 

The album is aptly named. 

When she was talking to producer Chuck Kavooras about going back into the studio, he pulled these songs out of the vault. Seven years ago Chuck had gone into the studio with the intent of recording these songs with another artist. The project was shelved and there it sat until Kavooras dug them out and suggested Kelly sing the vocals on it. 

She liked what she heard and decided to finish the album. 

Good call. 

What we get is this collection of funkified-R&B-soulful blues covers stirred with an artful hand. 

And, a hell of a band with Rick Reed on bass, John Marx on guitar, Bryan Head (that CAN’T be his real name, there’s a ski resort in Utah called that!), Mo Beeks on keyboards and special guest vocalists Teresa James, Shari Puorto, and Lisa Orloff Staley. Throw in a horn section of Andy Najera on saxophone and Stan Martin and Roy Wiegand  on trumpet and the results are explosive. 

Drop the needle and BAM! You’re up on a good foot with the James Brown classic, “What Do I Have To Do,” high on energy and pumped up by the horns, which push this baby to the edge. 

A lot of artists have recorded the R&B standard, “Baby It’s You.” Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon, and Mack David wrote it, The Shirelles introduced it, The Beatles polished it, and The Smiths trashed it. Kelly’s Lot polished it with a sensual reading. And, those horns, man, those horns. 

You don’t often come across covers of Mike Bloomfield from his Electric Flag period, but we’ve got one here with “You Don’t Realize.” Zirbes’ fluid, emotional vocals dance along to the odd time signature of the song adding to its unique flavor. 

There is  an homage to Tina Turner as Zirbes unleashes the old-school funk of “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” and “Trying To Find My Mind,” the former with a decidedly early ‘60s girl band flip, the latter a song that blows through like a tornado in an Oklahoma trailer park – damn scary stuff, but oh, so good. I think I hear a hit here. 

There’s a lot of depth to Zirbes’ song selection, as evidenced in “He Called Me Baby,” a cover of an old Patsy Cline song, without the saccharine-infused ‘50s kitsch. If any radio stations still play country music, this needs to go into the rotation. 

Then we get the kind of ‘60s psychedelic funky romp in Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing,” which makes you want to hop in the car and go pick up some Blue Dream from the local dispensary. 

What we land on at the end of the album is one of those throwbacks that kind of come out of leftfield – “You Are My Sunshine.” Yeah, that little diddy the kiddies warble when they waddle and toddle about after they tire of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” 

Except, this isn’t kid stuff. A lot of people have recorded it – The Pine Ridge Boys, Pete Seeger, Montana Slim (The Yodeling Cowboy), Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Kate Smith, The Ames Brothers, Faron Young, Ray Charles, Andy Williams, Marvin Gaye, Dick Dale, Ike and Tina, The Righteous Brothers, Trini Lopez, Buddy Ebsen, Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, Mose Allison, Bryan Ferry, Chuck Berry, Alexis Corner, Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis with special guest Norah Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis and Sheryl Crow, Carly Simon, Boxcar Willie, Leslie West, Johnny Cash, and a host of others up to and including Steve Lawrence and Lawrence Welk. 

This is right up there with my two faves – the Willie and Leon collaboration and, of course, Ray Charles. 

Look, it’s not rocket science. 

Match a great voice with a great band and some great songs and you get a great album. 

This is a great album. 

This one gets a 9½ on a scale of 10. -

Ed Kociela - MusicUcanSee.com

jukebox Flash - Bittersweet

  With the album release Bittersweet, the singer / songwriter Kelly Z returns together with her band KELLY'S LOT back to their musical roots. The artist, who is living in Los Angeles, has written 14 new songs with which she covers the entire range of roots and folk through blues rock and singer / songwriter up to Americana Country in a skilful way. There is a lot of care for variety. The pleasure ofcomposing is perceptible in every single song. Kelly tells her own telling stories and gives the listener entrance into their emotional worlds. The current disc rightly considers it one of their strongest throws. With this CD, the band simply sets the bar high. A perfect, round story. - Country Jukebox

AXS - don't give my blues away

Don’t Give My Blues Away is the latest by L.A.-based blues rock band Kelly’s Lot. Founded in 1995 by once solo folk singer-songwriter Kelly Zirbes, Kelly’s Lot currently consists of Zorbas on lead vocals, guitarists Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca, bassist Matt McFadden, drummer Robert Dill, Bill Johnston on saxophone, Dave Welch on trumpet, pianist Teresa James and Fred Mandel on B3 organ. 

Don’t Give My Blues Away is their ninth release. With a running time of almost 53 minutes, it consists of a dozen original tracks. Almost all of the album’s selections were written by Zirbes and Perry Robertson. The album opener is “Hush Up”. The CD’s title is drawn from the lyric of this cut. It’s considered by some critics to be one of the “most danceable” tracks on the disc and gets things off to a good start. 

The second selection is “Revolving Door” which seems almost a prerequisite for any band with a lady lead singer. Still, Zirbes somehow owns it so no complaints here. It’s followed by “Why Don’t We” which serves as another example of what Zirbes and Robertson can do as writers. 

They switch it up a bit with “Woman’s Love” which is written by Zirbes and Zucca. It includes memorable guitar work and is an early favorite of the critics to boot. Also included here is “Taking Time” which has its own little identity even if it is all too quickly overshadowed by “Right Now” which is another urgent, danceable blues rocker. 

It is followed by "Boom Boom Boom". This too while not unexpected for a female blues singer remains Zirbes own and is still quite catchy. The next number is “Don’t Miss Love” which is a fun track that musically manages to speak for itself even in the midst of everything else here. 

“Stateside” is another early favorite of the critics and the military on whom it focuses. It includes some noteworthy horn play. Another early fan favorite is “Reason for the Blues” which seems to make a musical statement for the band and demonstrates how well Robertson and Zucca play off each other. 

“That Fool” is another track where the brass shines and the listener once more hears how the artists blend and yet stand on their own. The album end-note is the almost bittersweet “Better Way”. It has a great ragtime touch to it and works well as the closing cut to this collection on jazz, R&B and soul-tinged blues-rock. 

Kelly’s Lot can always give an audience something to make them want to move. So check out Don’t Give My Blues Away by Kelly’s Lot “Right Now”. - William Phoenix

Blues BYtes - Rescue

'RESCUE'  - While you may not know who Kelly Z is, if you’re a blues fan you are more than likely familiar with Kelly’s Lot, which was founded in the mid ’90s by Kelly Zirbes (a.k.a. Kelly Z). The L.A.-based Kelly’s Lot has released 11 albums and has toured nationally and internationally, and the band’s Live In Brussels set was reviewed in the March, 2014 edition of Blues Bytes. Zirbes began recorded a solo album of ’60s-era rock, funk, and R&B classics with producer Chuck Kavooras at Slide Away Studios,

Kelly Z’s vocals pack a punch, equal doses blues, soul, and rock n’ roll, and she just rips through these eight songs, from the James Brown funk workout that kicks off the album, “What Do I Have To Do”) to a tender, but tough reading of the Burt Bacharach standard, “Baby It’s You,” to Michael Bloomfield’s splendid slow blues “You Don’t Realize,” to a pair of tunes associated with Tina Turner – “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” (with guitarist Perry Robinson in the “Ike” role) and the rocker “Trying To Find My Mind.” 

Both Patsy Cline and Candi Staton had success with Harlan Howard’s “He Called Me Baby,” and Kelly Z’s sensitive version is closer to Staton’s, and her version of Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing” is certain to get pulses racing and temperatures rising. The closer is pretty interesting, too --- the Governor Jimmie Davis hit “You Are My Sunshine,” redesigned as a thundering funk workout. 

Thank goodness Kelly Z and Chuck Kavooras managed to rescue this stellar eight-song set for public consumption. Ms. Zirbes is always a pleasure to hear and she does a wonderful job with these tunes. Hopefully, the two will still work on another project in the near future.--- Graham Clarke

LA HORA DEL BLUES - Rescue

The eight songs included in this album were recorded in 2011 by Kelly Z, with the valuable supervision of respected producer Chuck Kavooras. For different circumstances the recordings were not published and remained stored on a box. Recently, Kelly asked Chuck to work together on a new project. Chuck thought about those songs, so they decided to rescue them for this new album. Eight tracks that are closer to 60’s funk, rock and rhythm and blues, where Kelly shows she is a remarkable daring energetic singer who sometimes has been compared with singers like Lydia Pence, Dusty Springfield, Tina Turner and Irma Thomas. The album was recorded in analogical system to get a vintage sound and counted with the collaboration of a good horn section as well as a handful of guest musicians in some cuts. All songs communicate a daring strong power and, in Kelly’s case, the recording gives her credit enough to consolidate herself as a new value of independent black music scene. VERY GOOD.

music log - live in brussels

Kelly's Lot is an excellent blues-rock band based in Los Angeles, and fronted by Kelly Zirbes. They've put out several albums, but the way to truly experience this band - and Kelly's voice - is in concert. So I was really excited to hear they were putting out a live album. And this collection does capture the spirit of this band.  

Yes, this band is all about the blues, but it's their own brand of blues - it's like Positive Blues. Take a song like "Taking Time" for example. This is no poor-me type of blues. And even when things go wrong for the characters in these songs (and of course things do go wrong - this is the blues, after all), it's not like they're victims. How could you consider the protagonist of "Better Way" a victim? And certainly the singer of "Pistol" can take care of herself. 

A lot is said about Kelly's voice, and with good reason. But what also needs to be clear is that these guys are excellent musicians. Without ostentatious stage antics or any nonsense, these guys really PLAY. You know? Perry Robertson has often blown me away when I've seen him perform. Also, these guys clearly love what they're doing. You can see it in their smiles; you can hear it on all of these tracks. 

This is the best album the band has put out so far. Seventy minutes of excellent blues-rock. With one obvious exception, all the songs on this release are original songs, written by singer Kelly Zirbes and guitarist Perry Robertson. 

"Reason For The Blues" - The the band jumps right into a groovy blues number called "Reason For The Blues." Kelly has a great voice for blues and rock. It's rough and powerful - you get the feeling she could bruise you with it if she so desired. Kelly really demonstrates her vocal chops when she gets to the lines, "'Cause you're hard like candy/Sweet like wine/I can't help myself every time." And then there is some great work on guitar by both Rob Zucca and Perry Robertson. 

"Taking Time" - Kelly introduces "Taking Time" by saying, "Here's a new song. I call it 'Coffee.' Or, 'Taking Time.'" I love it when bands introduce new material in a live context. With the title not even firmed up, you get the sense you're experiencing something in development, which is always exciting. And this one is an immediate favorite. Kelly sings, "Well, I'm taking time for love/I'm taking time for you." This song also has a good little jam. 

"Redbone" is my favorite tune from the band's 2008 release, The Light. This song has a seriously cool groove. And this live version is a lot of fun. I love Matt McFadden's bass line. 

"Crossroads" - is the album's sole cover tune. Kelly's Lot does a fast-paced, high-energy rendition of this classic tune written by Robert Johnson. The band is clearly influenced by Cream's version. While Kelly's voice is electrifying, it's actually the instrumental section of this track that really sells it. 

"Tired" - has that familiar traditional blues rhythm and groove, something the previous tracks have stayed away from. The band doesn't rely on it. But it's welcome here - it works. Listen to that great pain in Kelly's voice when she sings, "I'm lost, I'm so lost." And there is a nice extended guitar section. The band really stretches out here - this song is ten minutes long. Kelly is not afraid to step aside and let the band cook on its own for a while. 

"Pistol" - Kelly's soft, simple intro, "This is called 'Pistol,'" does nothing to warn you about the groovy, kick-ass song that follows. This song really caught me by surprise. Check out these lines: "I got my knife sharpened/I'm not ready to see you bleed/Make sweet love to me, and in the morning we'll see." 

"Take This Heart" - When folks talk about Kelly's voice, one of the comparisons that is often made is to Janis Joplin, in terms of the raw power and sexiness. Kelly included her version of Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" on the band's 2009 release, Pastrami & Jam. In introducing "Take This Heart," Kelly says, "I kind of tried to channel her...This song is about what I think she would be saying if she were still out there performing." (That introduction is presented as a separate track, titled "Homage To Janis Joplin.") 

It begins, "Take this heart/Take it away from me/Take this soul." Of course the allusion is to one of Joplin's most famous songs, "Piece Of My Heart." My favorite lines from "Take This Heart" are, "Because baby you've taken the best of me/So why don't you just take the rest of me."  - Michael Doherty    

Blues Blast Magazine - Don't Give My Blues Away

Styles: R&B, Jazz-and-Soul-Influenced Blues 

What do Taylor Swift, Adele, Madonna, and Southern California native Kelly Zirbes, of the band Kelly’s Lot, have in common? They’re all female dynamo singers who are the main showcases of their respective bands. In time, these first three have ascended the pop charts to become some of the country’s best household names. Hopefully the fourth will as well, in the dual arenas of R&B and straight blues. Kelly and her Lot have a great horn section, and twelve original songs, on their new CD Don’t Give My Blues Away. Those searching for sizzling saxophone and tasty trumpet will definitely find it here, but the guitar work is slightly less noticeable. This is a lighthearted party album, featuring Kelly’s good-natured vocals with a sharp-edged kick. The three tunes below are the most danceable, whether fast or slow. 

Kelly’s Lot consists of Kelly Zirbes as the lead chanteuse, guitarists Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca, bassist Matt McFadden, drummer Robert Dill, Bill Johnston on saxophone, Dave Welch on trumpet, pianist Teresa James, and Fred Mandel on B3 organ. All of the album’s selections were written by Zirbes and Perry Robertson, except “Woman’s Love” which was co-written by Kelly and Rob Zucca. Each track is played with a nice balance of energy and musical technique. 

Track 01: “Hush Up” – This CD’s opening number contains its title, belted out at the beginning. Listeners might be tempted to forget the real name of “Hush Up”, but that’s a minor risk. What do people do when their lovers start blabbing relationship secrets to everyone around? One solution is to give the gossip-mongers an ultimatum: “When I get lonely, you’re all that I need. When I get those feelings, I’ll come clean. When I get down, I always get up. I think it’s time for you to hush up….” The Lot’s instrumentation is in top form, especially the horns and bass beat. 

Track 04: “Woman’s Love” – This is one song in which Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca’s guitar work is simply brilliant. Electric shredders don’t always have to scream in order to be effective. Sometimes soft strumming and notes that fall like snowflakes are far better mood-setters. “Can you hear me? Can you feel me?” cries Kelly in equal parts desire and frustration. 

Track 06: “Right Now” – With a tempo as urgent as its title, track six is a rollicking blues rocker. Love can’t wait, and neither can our narrator: “Tonight, I’m going to open up my soul. Tonight, I’m going to let everybody know that nothing’s going to make me turn around and go.” This the perfect tune to play if you’re in a hurry to get to a swinging celebration, if not on one’s morning commute. Check out the killer guitar solo in the middle. 

Kelly’s Lot sure has a lot to give to the R&B world in 2015! - Rainey Wetnights

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