CD Review - Kevin Anthony "North Star"
Cajun music is alive and well and doing time in South Texas. While you might know Kevin Anthony from his Twin City Playboys days, his latest offering, North Star, is instead steeped in deep traditional country, the likes of which Bakersfield masters might still be heard playing today. There are roots here, and they run deep.
From the opening track, “Hey You,” it’s clear this is the kind of music you might accidentally find surfing backwoods radio stations on a Sunday morning drive across Texas. There is no alt-country here, just dust-stompin’ ballads that ring of yesteryear.
And while fiddle or the occasional accordion jig might just be Anthony’s trademark, the Cajun sound creeps in there too. He just can’t help it; it’s bred in him somewhere. It’s what Anthony likes to call the “Gulf Coast sound,” the often-inaccessible Louisiana art form where spicy backyard crawfish boils and swing-dancin’ acoustic fiddling jams go hand-in-hand. And he’s mastered it.
But Anthony strongly laments too, the way good country should. He laments for the broken-hearted and for love-gone-wrong on songs like “The Good Times Are Killing Me,” where wine and whiskey are the only things that can help wash a woman off your mind. Bob Wills and Buck Owens would be proud.
North Star, featuring musicians Gene Harper, Jim Hall, Christopher Smith Gonzalez and Alan Baezner, runs the gambit from Creole country to Texas troubadour, backed by a toetappin’ beat, weepy pedal steel, and sweetly blazing guitars, all the while being proud and mournful, and tender and rough. This is the kind of music you’d hear wafting from an old Victrola on some long-lost vinyl recording, the kind your grandpa grew up to and tried to get you to have a listen. Here’s your chance.