Where And When

Kelly's Lot

Independent release, 2021

http://kellyslot.com

REVIEW BY: Conrad Warre

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/21/2021

Kelly’s Lot is a blues band with an expanding and contracting line-up pending the size of the venue they are booked to play.  Frontwoman Kelly Zirbes sings, and with bass player Alex Peterson, (who was previously in an all-girl rock band called Precious Metal), put the first version of Kelly’s Lot together in 1994, playing their debut show at the Roxy, in LA. Since then the band has released at least (at my count) 14 albums. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now scheduled for release in June of 2021 is the Kelly’s Lot album Where and When.  The album contains 11 tracks of untreated, plain, simple and direct songs, buried deeply in the blues vein. The performances on the album are by a quartet version of the band, showcasing Kelly Zirbes (rhymes with ‘service’) on vocals, rhythm guitarist Perry Robertson, Doug Pettibone on lead guitar and David Grover playing bass. Despite the absence of a drummer or a percussionist to keep the crew on the tracks, the band consistently maintains a steady groove and hypnotizes the listener to lay down on a bed of mostly mid-tempo, plaintive, and unadorned pentatonic twelve bar tunes. The dobro, or resonator guitar parts played are beautifully restrained. There are six originals and five covers including Howlin’ Wolf’s “Somebody in My Home” and “Nature,” “Stones in My Passway” by Robert Johnson, and Lovie Austin’s “Jealous Hearted Love.”

Zerbise and Robertson wrote the original songs which represent the most effective tracks on the album, and allow Kelly the most scope to express herself. The tracks were recorded live in the studio, and were mixed and mastered without any ‘visible’ augmentation. The subtle hint one gets when listening to the album in one continuous pass is that the performances are studiedly calm and perfect – but might have profited from a few of them being recorded in front of a live audience engendering a more ferocious or dark atmosphere. 

If you loved the Cowboy Junkies, this album will soothe your jangled nerves and make you appreciate the blues as performed by a set of talented musicians with both reverence and calm. The standout tracks are the originals “That Fool” with gorgeous parallel instrument lines, and the slower tempo “Lost” which exposes Kelly’s voice nicely.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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