Kevin Gordon – Long Gone Time

I have been a Kevin Gordon fan since the late 80’s, when I saw him as part of Bo Ramsey’s band and as the leader of his own group, The Rockadiles. In those days, Gordon was attending the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa, working on his poetry writing style. Since those days Gordon has become one of the top songwriters in the country. Although songs and poetry are two different formats, the two have many similarities. They both have rhythmic cadences, they can both tell a story and they can both bring a visual aspect to the mind’s eye. Kevin Gordon is a masterful story teller, his songs have a natural flow to them, which in your mind, project images of people, places and landscapes as the melody forces you to bob your head in time to the music.
Kevin Gordon has released a new album called Long Gone Time, the follow-up to 2012’s fantastic Gloryland. The new album is produced by Gordon’s go-to collaborator Joe McMahan. The disc was recorded and engineered by McMahan at his studio, Wow & Flutter in Nashville. Gordon and McMahan work so well together that you could mistake them for bandmates. That is not much of a stretch, since they do play live shows together now and then. McMahan contributes guitar and backing vocals on much of Long Gone Time. The album was recorded live in the studio. Half of the tunes are acoustic and the other half electric. Bo Ramsey and Lex Price add guitar on the acoustic tracks. Ron Eoff (electric Bass) and Paul Griffith (Drums) round out the band. Keyboards are added by Ryan Norris and Tyson Rogers, and Jon Radford does percussion work on two tracks while Dave P. Moore adds Harmonica to Cajun with a K. The CD has ten songs plus a bonus track, for a total of eleven tracks. The disc is about Gordon’s experiences recalled from growing up in Louisiana. He shares stories and musical styles from years gone by. His stories take the listener on a ride through the past and into an uncertain future.
All In The Mystery is a jouncy little blues number that kicks off the disc. Life doesn’t always go as planned, as matter of fact it can all be a mystery. “You might be sitting in the shade of a highway tree, selling honey off the hood of your LTD, with a hole in your shoe and a ringing in your ear, wondering how in the hell did you wind up here, in a folding chair, ‘neath the birds and the bees, it’s all in the mystery”. Next up is a rockabilly blues called GTO! The story goes like this: “Daddy got a job…bought himself a GTO…early next morning…glass in the driveway skid marks out on the road…the GTO was gone it ain’t never comin’ back”… A couple kids stole the muscle car, went for a joyride, they got caught but the car was destroyed, I guess sometimes it’s just better to get a Rambler. In Letter To Shreveport, Gordon remembers or perhaps longs for a simpler time: “Hot coffee in a tin percolator, dry biscuits on the stove, Johnny Horton on the radio; you don’t hear that no more.” Have you ever returned to a place and took a walk, remembering things from the past. Sad things, inconsequential things, happy things that sometimes make you feel sad. Walking On The Levee is a melancholy song about a stroll through a town left behind long ago. You’re not there as a witness but life goes on in your absence. “Her daddy had a house boat docked right down there; I still remember the kiss, the smell of her hair. The boat burned and sank twenty five years ago, Karen died by lightning strike, I was told”. Shotgun Behind The Door, Crowville, Goodnight Brownie Ford and Immigrant are all great tunes. This disc is full of great songs, it’s near impossible to pick the best song. That is the sign of a great album. One of my favorites is Church On Time, a sweet little rocker that reminds me the all of times Sister Mary Agnes would jump on me about being late or skipping school or church or class or any number of things. “Well the congregation met and they sent me a letter. Said, we’re gonna pray for you son, ‘til your timing gets better. We’re making a mark for every day you miss. Remember old Judas went astray with just one kiss”. Cajun With A K is a funky little jazz/blues number that explores a dark world where living is hard, changes don’t happen and dreams die a long slow death. “That girl at the register wanted to be a dancer, ended up a cashier instead. Don’t let dreams go to your head”. The last song on the disc, is listed as a “bonus track”. Following A Sign (The Preacher’s Wife) is a song that explores living life with faith in an unconventional way, “… I stood up in church one Sunday, prophesied a storm to come; Monday morning lightning struck the doubters dumb. The preacher kicked me out, threw my thumb up for a ride; twenty dollar bill in my bible, watching the cars just blow on by”. I have played this CD at least once every day since I brought it home. It kind of makes me feel sorry for those who download just one song. Do yourself a favor, buy the CD, so you won’t miss out on anything. Including the great cover image, of “After The Flood (Katrina)” by Michael Noland.

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