Fabulous T Birds – On TheVerge (CD Review)
If you didn’t have the disc handy, you wouldn’t know who this band is. Debuting on Severn Records with On The Verge, Kim Wilson abandons any of the T birds trademarks. This one is all about soul. This sounds like one of the showcases that Wilson has put together over the years to pay homage to his influences. Unleashing his inner soul man, Wilson has never sounded better.
“I Want To Believe” is roughshod gospel in the spirit of the Holmes Brothers with Wilson delivering a sermon of hope backed by the twangy twin guitar attack of T Birds guitarists Johnny Moeller( a T-bird since ’07) and Mike Kellar (since ’08.)
“Lovin Time’” sounds like a Tyrone Davis/ Los Lonely boys fusion, 60s soul with a hint of Tex-Mex.
“Too Much Water” is one of the few cuts Wilson plays harp on, with a vocal in the grits and soul style of Little Milton. “Hold Me” is more of the same ‘6os soul with a mellow Joe Simon feel.
Bassist Randy Bermudes’ “Runnin’ From the Blues” steps up the twang factor a bit, throwing in a bit more gravel in the vocals, O.V. Wright style.
Wilson really soars on the gospel inflected “Do You Know Who I Am,” a plea to take care of our own before we go exporting aid overseas. Feeding the children of the world is a noble idea, Wilson postulates, but first we need to take care of the children we got right here: “From Detroit City to New Orleans/there’s a lot of kids living in poverty.”
Wilson steps up on harp once again for “Lonely Highway,” the cut sounding like a Willie Mitchell produced release from his Memphis-based Hi records label with Robert Cray sitting in for Al Green.
Although it may not be what T-birds fans are looking for from the band based on past performance, its still an unexpected pleasure, a soulful sidestep from their usual Texas twang bar band base. It’s a savvy move to broaden their fanbase, adding a new dimension to their live sets from now on, allowing the twangers to mellow out and the soul fans to swoon to their heart’s content.
By Grant Britt