Kelly Pardekooper’s Yonder: a great review, although I haven’t heard it yet
I’ve pretty much been to the moon and back for the past two weeks, unable to muster more than an occasional visit to this website for a joust with Will or witty repartee with Gillian. Haven’t even checked my email and the only new music I’ve been listening to has been old music…The Handsome Family, actually. I’m still a little shaky on my feet, green around the gills, and the only place I can occupy is the bed or couch. I just happened to check in here, my virtual home away from home, a few minutes ago on my way to a Cyber Monday shopping spree when I noticed the banner ad across the top of the page announcing the new one by Kelly Pardekooper. His pic is on the left here, shot by my favorite Iowa-based Americana photographer and former, occasional No Dep mag contributor Sandy Dyas. (Hey Sandy…if you read this, hope you’re well and all.)
Let me tell you this: I’ve never listened to Kelly’s music before about…let’s see…26 minutes ago. He and I exchanged a very nice email conversation about a year and a half or two ago when he stumbled on a post I wrote about Iowa musicians and Sandy’s photo-book that to this day still sits at my side, on my desk, and is thumbed through often. Comes with a CD too come to think about it…I wonder if Kelly is on it? The guy has had what….something like five or six albums? He lives in LA now if I remember correctly, doing something or another in the film biz. Some of the tunes on this new album Yonder have been featured on tv soundtracks for True Blood, Cold Case and Sons of Anarchy.
So this is what I just did: I clicked on the banner ad and it took me to the Yonder landing page over at CD Baby and I just sampled every damn track up there. Sounds a little Steve Earle-ish I first thought…and then I heard a Bo Ramsey vibe kick in. Needing more, I went to Spotify where there are at least three other albums up (not this one yet, KP) and started playing them while I did what I’m doing now…punching the keyboard.
I don’t often do record reviews because I’m either really bad at it (like this), haven’t got the stamina to get it all right, and/or I missed the class about how to use a thesaurus properly. Or like today…I don’t have the ten bucks to download it (week 56 of being out of work…note to KP, I accept download links, freebies and promos. I ain’t too proud to beg.) and even if I did, I’d probably be finished telling y’all how great it is before I got to the third track. So screw the whole damn process and just go find it on CD Baby (preferably…he makes more dough here) or iTunes or Amazon or wherever else his records might be sold, and check it out for yourselves. Hell…if you feel like it, just write your own review here in the comments section. Because this I know…the 15 seconds or so of each song I’ve heard so far sound effing great. He has a great voice, fabulous tunes and a producer that turns out to be…well look at this…Bo Ramsey himself.
Let me do the right thing and check KP’s website…maybe I’ll find something to rip…er…share. Yep…here it is:
Kelly Pardekooper returns with his sixth album, Yonder. His first studio release in five years, Yonder was produced by Grammy-nominated guitar master Bo Ramsey. Recorded mostly live at Minstrel Studio in Iowa City, Yonder captures Kelly in superb vocal form with Bo Ramsey leading an ace rhythm section of Marty Christensen and Steve Hayes. Album artwork features another original hand sketching by the uber-talented Gene Flores. Buy the new album Yonder here and we’ll email you a digital bonus track from the recording sessions…a duet with Kelly and Bo called “Like A Rose” only available here. “For me, the new album Yonder is very much the five year journey from the plains of Iowa and the Midwest to the big city bright lights and strip clubs of Los Angeles.”
(Sorry if the text doesn’t look right or wrap properly…it happens sometimes in the world of cut and paste.)
Kelly Pardekooper grew up and spent his twenties living a regular life in Iowa City… getting married, finishing college, buying a house, working regular day jobs etc. He released his first lo-fi basement recorded album at 30. He spent his thirties decade creating music, touring and recording five albums while based in Iowa, East Nashville and Madison. At 40, he has just moved to Los Angeles where he’s currently retired from the music hustle. Via publishing/licensing wizardry, his 50+ song catalog continues to live long and prosper in the Hollywood FILM/TV hard-drive slot machines. He still writes songs and tries to treat people well!
And finally this…(his website turns out to be much better than this blogger can come up with on his own):
“Well it took me five years to finally release my sixth album…but “Yonder” is now available and you should go buy a copy right now! In advertising land that’s a not so subtle “call to action”. You can buy album here via CD Baby, who I have used for secure online sales since 1998. And the digital download version of “Yonder” drops 11/26 on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify etc. if that’s more your music style. The CDs would make perfect stocking stuffers! A lot of living went into this new album and I’m glad my life finally had some room for new studio sounds. Not sure what kind of tour support I’ll have time for as my next six months is looking wild and crazy in LA.
I am really proud of the new album. My voice has changed as I have gotten older and I could not be happier with the sound. Sad songs still make me happy it seems and LA is full of heartbreak. The album was produced by Grammy nominated guitar master and fellow Iowan Bo Ramsey and features the original artwork of Gene Flores. We went from the recording studio to album for sale in two months! Gotta love technology. Please help spread the word if you know folks who might like my new sounds. I’m just a one man propaganda wagon these days with not a lot of time or interest in hype or promotion.”
Done…..42 minutes and one fine review of some of the best Americana folk-country-blues-rock-roll-soul-rumble I’ve heard in a while. Kelly, you’ve done good. What more needs to be said?
(Oh yeah…all the b/w photos are from Sandy Dyas of course.)