Music Review: Tears From Stone by Kenny Selcer

“I’ll Fly Away” on the Tears From Stone CD is carefully guided artistry from the hand of a master craftsman of the New England area music scene. The four minute and nine second song could be John Denver at his country best, but more than that, one can almost hear the Gospel voices that aren’t there, a pretty statement almost prayer-like in its sincerity. Steve Gilligan’s bass and backing vocals from Liz Buchanan work alongside multi-instrumentalist Kenny Selcer to bring this exquisite piece home.

“Like a Sun Shower” has a similar feel, though it is stylistically different in its folk/pop splendor with a strong vocal front and center. It’s simply beautiful.

The word eclectic is used to describe so many things, but the dictionary definition reviews Kenny Selcer’s music to the T: “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.” Selcer offers vocals, acoustic, electric and slide guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, string arrangements, horn arrangement, percussion, mandolin, music and lyrics from his own musical experiences while John Loud, Bernie Geddry and Mike Migliozzi’s drums, Chris Billias on keyboards, and Joe Kessler’s violin all play their part as part of the tapestry, never stepping on the sounds as they combine to shape each of the sixteen tunes.

“Nothing Started Nothing Gained” actually starts the album off with West Coast folk rock that David Crosby could groove to. This writer puts the disc in a “shuffle” mode, so these thoughts on the material, some of which I’ve heard on radio over the past months, are in no particular order.

“I’m Leaving this Town” in its neo-reggae rocking structure is a popular theme with many musical people, like a residency at a club that turns into a merry-go-round. Sometimes the grass is always greener, and sometime a place just burns you out Is the singer/guitarist imagining, being wishful, or just considering the moment? “Please Disregard” seems like a fusion of rock, country and blues, drawing you in with the musicianship and chord structure, a very strong track. “Morning Light” one could hear from a Paul McCartney or Emitt Rhodes solo-disc where they played all their own instruments. Introspective with the instruments vying for center stage with the vocals. It’s a 180 from “In America” which reflects 60 pop producers like Jerry Ross and movie themes from that era.

Kenny’s musicianship flows from track to track, years playing on the folk circuit and making recording give him a grasp that he and his colleagues bring the listener on songs like “Up In Heaven” and “On a Ride.” “On a Ride” closes the journey out with an uptempo burst of energy. Kind of like the singer on horseback riding out to the sunset and gifting so many ideas and melodies. This is a double-disc for sure and a beautiful listening experience.