Former Loose Ties band member Terry Kitchen returns after 2014’s book/cd combo Next Big Thing presenting his The POST-AMERICAN CENTURY album. Ten songs with a bonus track of the one minute twenty-four second “One More Sunset,” this collection is reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot’s worldly point of view, with lots of hope tucked inside the melancholy mood of some of the material.
With a Francisco Gonzalez cover on the gatefold, straight out of `1968’s Charlton Heston, the original Planet of the Apes, the Boston area/New England folk veteran mixes upright bass, mandolin and harmony vocals to “So Much More To Home.” This is perfect music for WUMB, the mega-station at UMass Boston which should embrace and highlight this material. “Sequel” evoking feelings from the past, this new American century in need of or searching for a label, is the closest thing to a title track with the album’s name repeated in the refrain. Kitchen keeps his cover of Neil Diamond’s “I’m A Believer” under four minutes. The approach is Ric Ocasek of the Cars back in his MIlkwood phase on Paramount Records, a tight rhythmic strum turning the Monkees pop classic into John Sebastian playing post-concert in a coffee shop. Very nice approach.
The material goes from three to five minutes, story songs like “Rock of Ages” perhaps the other side of the aforementioned Diamond’s “”Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” – the singer telling a story from the audience’s perspective. “One By One” is not the Randy California songs from the 1990s, one of the final great moments for the band Spirit, but you can hear California singing this, an elegant bit of outrospection, if you will. The longest track, “Tall Against the Wave,” at 5:15 is a civil war lament, a story-song a la Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and a perfect medley song begging for “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” to follow. Perhaps live in concert. “Eternity,”a video from the album, gives a nice look into the serious fun Terry’s crew bring to this sophisticated and splendidly performed music.
Terry Kitchen’s author information on each song
About the SONGS on Terry Kitchen’s
The Post-American Century
“So Much More to Home” My friend Andy Dunn and I were talking at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival a few years back. His wife was extremely pregnant, and my wife and I had just bought a house, so even though we were surrounded by great music we were both being pulled by thoughts of home. We took a break from the crowd and wrote this song. With Bob Harris on mandolin and Mara Levine on harmony.
“Sequel” If the 1900s are regarded as “The American Century,” what does make the 2000s? Lots of great songs were written in the ’60s about freedom and finding ourselves. I got to wondering about how all those lives turned out, and got this song. With Mara Levine on harmony.
“Perelli’s Barbershop” As places where men gather to wait their turn, barbershops are filled with “guy” magazines – Car & Driver, Sports Illustrated, and maybe even a Playboy. In those innocent pre-internet days when I was growing up, a Playboy was a big deal indeed, especially to a ten year old boy.
With Roger Williams on Dobro.
“Tall Against the Wave” April 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the Civil War, and I was surprised how little attention it got. It might be worth remembering in this time of un-civil politics how bad it can be. Lee had assigned Joe Johnson the task heading off Sherman on his march back from Georgia, and they clashed at Bentonville, North Carolina, when the war was all but over. With Amy Malkoff on harmony and Chris Devine on fiddle.
“Stay Forever” We do our best to be caring and brave when confronted with the loss of a loved one, but behind the façade we’re angry, hurt, confused and scared. Or at least I am. With Phyllis Capanna on harmony and Brice Buchanan (from my ’80s band Loose Ties) on guitar.
“Rock of Ages” When I visit Nashville I stay on my friend Steve’s couch, and down the block is a very small and humble-looking church. Even though I’m an atheist I appreciate the fellowship and community people can find there when they really need it. With Roger Williams on Dobro, and Brice Buchanan and Deede Bergeron on harmony.
“Eternity” When we’re young we race to grow up, then when we get there we futilely try to slam on the brakes. Good luck. A country duet in the tradition of Porter and Dolly, with Mara Levine on duet vocal.
“One by One” In a country with an African American president, it’s tragic that far too many still pay the ultimate price for merely having the wrong color skin. The list keeps growing ‒ Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Clementa Pinckney and on and on. Pete Seeger taught us we shall overcome, but it has to start in the hearts of each of us. With Mara Levine on harmony.
“Mommy Come Quick” My mother (Peachy to her family and friends) passed away last fall on her 86-and-a-half birthday. As her Alzheimer’s progressed, she lost more and more of her abilities, and our roles reversed. Seeing her so childlike made me remember my own young childhood, when I was helpless without her. With Don Barry on upright bass.
“I’m a Believer” In my novel Next Big Thing, the fictional band Shadowland’s first big hit is a Monkees cover, pissing off songwriter/main character Mark Zodiac. Will life imitate art?
“One More Sunset” (hidden cut) A
few more reasons to stay forever.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.