BLUES BYTES - CAN'T TAKE MY SOUL
Kelly’s Lot celebrates their 25th anniversary this year with their 14th release, Can’t Take My Soul. Singer Kelly Zirbes (you may know her as Kelly Z) and guitarist Perry Robertson have released one powerhouse set of blues, roots, rock, and Americana after another for a quarter century, and this latest effort shows that they’re poised to blast through another 25. Zirbes and Robertson penned all 12 tracks, which cover a wide range of blues-related topics and touch on other genres, as well.
The rocking opener, “All I Ever Want Is The Blues,” finds Kelly Z citing a number of her influences, from Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters to Koko Taylor and Etta James, while the politically-charged “All Hope Ain’t Lost,” encourages all to hang in there and weather the stormy political waters. “Alyssa” is a poignant tale of a young woman diagnosed with a terminal disease at a young age who fought a courageous battle and lived to young adulthood.
The swinging Cajun track, “Woe Is Me,” picks up the pace considerably, with help from Eddie Baytos on accordion and washboard, and “Safe And Warm” is an acoustic love song with warm musical backing and vocals. The intense French/English “Rise Up ((Lève-Toi)” features a duet vocal from French bluesman Jean-Francois Thomas (guitarist Rob Zucca handles lead guitar on this track), and Frank Hinojosa adds gritty harmonica to the funky “Broke Myself,” and “Let It Breathe” is a gentle acoustic ballad.
“Dirt” is a mid-tempo rocker that calls for one to move on to better things when bad things start to feel too comfortable, and the sweet “Little Bit Of This” finds Zirbes returning to her folk-singer beginnings. The title track should get folks on their feet with its irresistible surf music rhythm and defiant vocal, and the closer, “Mon Ami,” is another French/English song, a lilting love song that closes the album on a joyful note.
Can’t Take My Soul is a delightful set of multiple styles and themes.
As stated above, Kelly’s Lot looks set to cruise through another 25 years with ease.
--- Graham Clarke
blues matters - Can't take my soul
The Lot are based in Los Angeles and this is their 14th album and features twelve original songs with an eclectic mix of blues, roots, rock and Americana. Opener 'All I Ever Want Is The Blues' is a radio friendly rocker with vocalist Kelly Zirbes paying tribute to her heroes as she growls out the vocals and the band play up a storm behind her. 'All Hope Ain’t Lost' is a heartfelt political rebuke about hard times which opens with a funky little guitar riff from Perry Robertson as Kelly implores ‘Don’t Give Up’. ‘Alyssa’ is a loping slow blues with Kelly’s superb vocals ranging from a whisper to a growl and features a stirring solo from Robertson and good organ from Bobby Orgel. Guest Eddie Baytos adds accordion and washboard to the jumping Cajun romp ‘Woe Is Me’ and then we are treated to Kelly’s honeyed tones in a tender ballad, ’Safe and Warm’, which has a slight country twang and envelops the listener in a warm glow. by Dave Drury - MORE at http://www.BluesMatters.com
Blues Blast Magazine
Don’t let the soft pastels and starry background on the CD cover of Can’t Take My Soul fool you. Kelly Zirbes is the best friend with the gritty voice and wild hair who always has your back. Although several of her newest songs are relentlessly positive (“Woe is Me,” “Let it Breathe,” “Little Bit of This”), she performs them with an edge that grounds them in our down-and-dirty world. Genre purists will note that “folk” is listed before “blues” under “styles,” and for good reason. Every blues song on this album contains a little bit of folk, and vice-versa. Zirbes channels Edie Brickell, Sheryl Crow, and Alanis Morissette with considerable skill. The best numbers on this CD, however, are ones where the full Lot shines in the spotlight (the opener and title track). They provide a lilting French vibe on “Rise Up” (Lève-Toi) and “Mon Ami.”
Since 1994, this band has composed 14 CDs and gone on countless tours in the US and Europe. Kelly’s Lot hails from the Los Angeles area and features our leading lady on vocals and acoustic guitar for track five. Joining her are Perry Robertson on guitars, Matt McFadden on bass, Mike Sauer and Michael Mason on drums, Bobby Orgel on keys, Rob Zucca on lead guitar for track six, Frank Hinojosa on harmonica, Jean Paul Monshè on accordion, Eddie Baytos on washboard and accordion for track four, Jean-François Thomas on duet vocals for track six, and Jeri Goldenhar, Andrew Mushin, Jenna Mushin, and Aviva Maloney on background vocals.
The blues are paradoxical, meant to banish bad moods instead of instill them. Without a doubt, these three songs will get one’s toes tapping and one’s fingers snapping, live or at home.
Track 01: “All I Ever Want is the Blues” – Kelly pays homage to the masters in this upbeat, mid-tempo blues rocker. “Robert Johnson’s mean guitar, Stevie Ray, he took it far; Etta James sang her song, and I can last all night long.” Perry Robertson nails it on guitar, and there’s a slight ‘50s atmosphere to the proceedings. It may drop a lot of names, but that’s no shame.
Track 02: “All Hope Ain’t Lost” – With smooth funk and jazz flavors, track two reminds us not to throw in the towel with “greed and money getting in the way” and “big bad boss holding on to all he’s got.” Highlights here are the melodious guitars, background vocals, and Bobby Orgel on understated keyboards.
Track 04: “Woe is Me” – Some people can be real downers, so cheer them up with this flaming-hot Zydeco track. It will call them out and give them hope at the same time: “You tell me you’re in ruin and have many bills to pay, a job that you cannot stand you have to do each day. Oh, you’re so sad, and you’re so mad. You don’t know what you have.” The playful way Kelly sings this last part will make even the most die-hard pessimists laugh (at themselves). Dig Eddie Baytos’ accordion and washboard.
Times in the ‘10s may be hard, but as Kelly’s Lot admirably proves, they Can’t Take My Soul! - Rainey Wetnight - Blues Blast Magazine
.....She's terrifically comfortable in her own skin, laying down firm rules before tossing a life preserver to an angry misguided lover - Frank John Hadley
Can't Take My Soul - Big City blues magazine
Here’s another really good band that deserves to emerge from under the radar. Songstress Kelly Zirbes and her guitarist partner Perry Robertson have released over a dozen albums from their base in Los Angeles, as well as racking up an extensive festival and touring resume (including annual visits to France, where they have a loyal following). This year marks the silver anniversary of the band’s formation, and their new album is designed to show the band’s strengths as it touches on rock, folk, soul, and regional music as well as blues.
In addition to Kelly and Perry, the ensemble is comprised of drummer Mike Sauer and bassist Matt McFadden, whose skills emerge immediately on the opening track, “All I Ever Want Is the Blues.” The number - composed, like the entire twelve songs, by Zirbes and Robertson - name-checks a host of blues influences, from Robert Johnson to Bonnie Raitt, as it rocks its brief way to its end. In the process, it reveals Kelly’s powerful alto pipes, and also her ability to do both grit and smooth croon.
“All Hope Ain’t Lost,” track two, introduces organist Bobby Orgel into the mix and allows Kelly to wax sultry before soaring into the upper registers; Robertson adds a short but nifty solo. His guitar then introduces “Alyssa,” who was “one step ahead of the blues.” (The handsome liner notes provide full song lyrics.) A zesty and unexpected twist follows with “Woe Is Me”: its slow intro quickly morphs into a mid-tempo Cajun mode, with Eddie Baytos contributing stylish accordion and washboard.
You get the idea: an amalgam of variety, versatility, and vivacity. Among the remaining tracks, “Safe and Warm” is a sweet love ballad with pleasant acoustic guitar and Kelly singing at her warmest. “Rise Up,” in contrast, is an upbeat bilingual cut, presenting a stark contrast between Kelly’s smooth vocal and the ultra-raspy Jean-Francois Thomas vocalizing in French. The juxtaposition seems unlikely to work…but it does. Later, Kelly herself handles the French on the bilingual closer, “Mon Ami.” Also notable is “Little Bit of This,” a simple and pretty duet of Robertson on acoustic guitar and Kelly.
Along the way, we are treated to the talents of several other guests, including Frank Hinojosa wailing harmonica on “Broke Myself” and a quartet of backing singers who sound delightful in adorning several songs. The result is a set with catchy tunes and creative lyrics by a group of long-time compatriots, fronted by Kelly Z’s alternately supple, suave, and searing vocals.—Steve Daniels
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
Professor Johnny P's Juke Joint
Okay, I feel a little ashamed of admitting that I have not heard of a band that is celebrating their 25thanniversary this year by releasing their 15th album. Of course, the fact that there is an entire country between us should come into play, but I was stumped when I received a copy of Can’t Take My Soul by Los Angeles based Kelly’s Lot.
The Kelly in question is Kelly Zirbes, a singer songwriter who started out in the folk and independent scene and moved more towards her love of the blues. Zirbes has a great voice and is a very strong songwriter, co-writing all 12 of the albums song with guitarist Perry Robertson.
The other members of The Lot include Matt McFadden on bass and Mike Sauer on drums. They are joined by several quest artists scattered over the songs including: Michael Mason on drums; Bobby Orgel on keys; Rob Zucca on lead guitar; Frank Hinojosa on harp; Jean Paul Monshe on accordion; and Eddie Baytos on accordion and washboard.
Backing vocals are provided by Jeri Goldenhar, Andrew Mushin, Jenna Mushin, and Aviva Maloney. Jean-François Thomas provides specialized vocals for one song.
The album starts off with a rousing number, All I Ever Want Is The Blues, that should be on every blues lovers’ playlist. We’ve already played this one on Time For The Blues, and you can bet you’ll be hearing it again sometime soon. It’s lively with a strong shuffle beat and Zirbes unleashes a sexy growl to deliver the lyrics.
They slow things down for the follow up song, All Hope Ain’t Lost. It’s a universal song about the things humanity faces on a daily basis. I love the subtle keys and Robertson’s guitar work. One thing the band quickly establishes is that they are not just going to perform traditional blues, they are going to add some funky rhythms and blend elements in from other genres to make their own sound.
The next track, Alyssa, starts off low and smoky. Zirbes does a good job with the ballad, and gives the lyrics a punch. Backing vocals are good with this one. Wasn’t as crazy about the song when I first heard it, but the lyrics, delivery, and guitar have grown considerably on me.
Got to love that Zydeco sound and once you hear that accordion and washboard on Woe Is Me, you know you’re in a different territory. Good dancing number, good drinking number, just plain good. Might not be everyone’s cup of jambalaya, but it sure works for me.
Safe And Warm is a tender ballad that would easily be at home in any roadhouse or honkytonk to give the patrons a chance to hold their partner tight and swirl around the dance floor, or just stare into each other’s eyes. A very different sound from what they’ve been playing.
Jean-François Thomas adds his distinctive vocals to Rise Up (Lève-Toi), singing his part in French. I’ve always had a soft spot for French lyrics and actually have a pretty fair collection of French pop that I listen to when I have some time late at night. I really like this song a lot – the vocal arrangement is tight and the lead guitar from Rob Zucca is sweet.
Nice harp work from Frank Hinojosa opens the next song, Broke Myself. Zirbes gets down and gritty with her vocals and this song drives. She screams and Hinojosa’s harp answers. It’s a nice juxtaposition. She then slows things down for Let It Breathe, a breathy number that reminds me of Dylan’s work on Nashville Skyline. This would make a hell of a country song and Zirbes really stretches her vocals.
Zirbes starts the song Dirt a cappella and the bass and drum come in slowly. The song blurs the lines between blues and country but Zirbes seems comfortable in both genres. The next number, Little Bit Of This, is another gentle ballad that blurs lines between country and pop. It’s a sweet song.
Next up is the title track, Can’t Take My Soul which also starts a cappella. She then turns it into a not so subtle growl and gets down and dirty. This one will probably end up getting the second most airplay (behind All I Ever Want Is The Blues).
The accordion is back for Mon Ami, and Zirbes shows off her bilingual skills singing in both French and English. It’s a surprise ending to an intriguing album. And for me, at least, a sweet croissant to bring the curtain down.
Kelly’s Lot is a fascinating group; they can appear as a duo, trio, or full band with ease. I don’t hit the West Coast very often, but I’m going to charge some friends of mine who live there to go check out the band and report back about their live shows.
Be sure to check out their website and find out the whens and wheres for their playdates. If you live in France, they’re coming your way this summer! Wish I could join them. - Johnny
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.
The Nashville Blues and Roots Alliance
CAN’T TAKE MY SOUL
ALL I EVER WANT IS THE BLUES–ALL HOPE AIN’T LOST–ALYSSA–WOE IS ME–SAFE AND WARM–RISE UP (LEVE’ TOI)–BROKE MYSELF–LET IT BREATHE–DIRT–LITTLE BIT OF THIS–CAN’T TAKE MY SOUL–MON AMI
Kelly Zirbes (say “service”) prefers just Kelly Z, and she and her band, Kelly’s Lot, have been tearin’ these blues up on the SoCal scene for 25 years now, ever since their first night at the Roxy in Hollywood in 1994. Bathed in the muddy waters of the blues, she and her writing partner/guitarist Perry Robertson offer up twelve eclectic cuts on their latest set, “Can’t Take My Soul.” There are love songs, loving tributes, topical-themed songs, and a couple of songs done partly in French.
The party starts with a bang, in the form of the opening shuffle that finds our girl under a lover’s spell, where “All I Want Is The Blues.” This one name-checks many of our heroes, from Muddy to SRV to Etta to Koko and everyone in between. She channels her inner torch singer to present an ode to true love, where she feels “Safe And Warm,” while she gets in a spirited duet with Jean-Francois Thomas, as each sings a verse in their native language, “Rise Up (Leve’-Toi).”
We had several favorites. Set over a creepin’ bass line and Frank Hinojosa’s harp, one can break a lot of things, but our heroine “Broke Myself” by loving you! “Woe Is Me” shows off Kelly’s fantastic alto voice in the story of a lover who is always “focused on your bad luck,” and features squeezebox and frottoir from Eddie Baytos. Lastly, Kelly takes us all down to Blues Church with the testifyin’ of “you can take my guitar when it’s time for me to go, but You Can’t Take My Soul!”
Kelly Z is one of the most unique artists in all of contemporary blues. Continually challenging herself to greater heights, she often encourages her social media followers to provide her with a single word, out of which she composes a song. That energy is evident throughout “Can’t Take My Soul.” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance. https://donandsherylsbluesblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/01/kellys-lot-review-june-1-2019/
BLUES MATTERS - don't Give my blues away
Well this is definitely the real deal for any lover of rhythm and relaxing laid back blues adding to this mix funky style a fantastic horn section and sassy female vocals this has it all. A mainly Southern Californian band that have been around the music scene in various guises this is their ninth release and the sound and production of this is very professional yet fun and catchy at the same time. A twelve track release all written by lead singer Kelly Zirbes and guitarists Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca who play off well on such tracks as Reason for the Blues a particular favourite which encapsulates the easy going vibe of this release, and showcasing the tightness of the band. The horn section on songs like That Fool and Stateside accompany the sultry vocals and storytelling behind these songs make them sure-fire winners. For me the stand out track is Woman’s Love a song of emotional torment this feeling is even more emphasised by the interplay of guitars and saxophone. The bitter sweet approach to a broken relationship on Better Way has a wonderful trumpet solo by Dave Welch with help from tenor saxophonist Bill Johnston and quirky ragtime piano playing with Teresa James. The relaxing style of music and joining together of the band is cranked up on the most catchy Boom Boom Boom. A highly intoxicating release by a very hard working and gutsy band. - COLIN CAMPBELL http://www.BluesMatters.com