Lee’s Listening Stack – Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – ‘Gift Horse’
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers convey a populist point of view, and they do it with enthusiasm, energy and a strong sense of belief. Mostly, they seem to have fun doing it, wrapped in the bonds of a bunch of boyhood pals who genuinely appreciate the fact they’ve realized their youthful dreams of rock ‘n’ roll glory. I witnessed this a couple of years ago on a Cayamo Cruise where they were performing, and meeting them afterwards was as convincing an experience as actually seeing them on stage. There’s is an infectious, idealistic attitude that makes every outing a joyful combination of excitement and introspection, rumination and reflection translated into not-so-distant tales anyone can easily invest in. Kellogg’s narratives are often sung in praise of family and friends, and on the band’s excellent-as-always new outing — rightly titled Gift Horse no less — several songs vet these same emotions. “Watch You Grow” is one of the more obvious (“You will always have your family”), but Kellogg’s ode to his hometown (“This is My Favorite Place”) and his clear-eyed observations on adolescence paving the way for adulthood (“Who We Are, Who We’ll Become,” “Noelle, Noelle,” “Long Days, Fast Years”) also reflect an innate wisdom that’s long since become the band’s stock in trade. There’s more than a hint of blue-eyed, common man perspective contained here – check out the Mellencamp-inspired “1993” for example – but there’s never a moment where there’s any need to question the sincerity of their convictions. Consider this disc another moving, memorable offering from a band that’s quickly ascending to the top ranks of America’s best.
– Lee Zimmerman
And check it out at Amazon as the Tuesday, October 11 “MP3 deal of the day”