Review: Kermit Lynch – Kitty Fur (Lynchmusic/Dualtone, 2011)
Kermit Lynch – Kitty Fur (Lynchmusic/Dualtone, 2011)
Kermit Lynch is well-known to oenophiles for his unique wine importing business; but even his most ardent customers would be surprised to find he’s also a gifted musician. Throughout the sixties, Lynch fronted bands in the Berkeley area, only giving it up in the early ‘70s when his travels through Europe begat a career in wine. With the encouragement of vintner/musician Boz Scaggs, Lynch returned to music in 2005, and with co-producer Ricky Fataar, released the album Quicksand Blues. In 2009 he followed-up with Man’s Temptation, mixing literate, world-traveled originals with well-selected covers that included a terrific old-timey take on Lee Hazlewood’s rockabilly classic “The Fool.”
With Fataar once again in the producer’s seat (and drummer’s throne), Lynch offers up his third course, adding an original title track to ten covers. Much like his taste in wines, Lynch’s music is varied and at times eclectic. He sings country, rock, blues, folk, reggae, Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” and even the romantic WWII-era “It’s Been a Long, Long Time.” His voice is a bluesy instrument with the weathered edges of someone more partial to grain than grape, and it adds new shades to each interpretation. The opening original “Kitty Fur” has the blue jazz feel of Mose Allison, the Rolling Stones’ “Winter” is played more like Sticky Fingers than Goats Head Soup, and Dylan’s slight “Winterlude” (from 1970’s New Morning) is slowed into a luscious waltz that’s more classic country than the original’s old-timey vibe.
Lynch is backed by top-notch players, including Rick Vito on guitar, Michael Omartian on piano, Dennis Crouch, Michael Rhodes on bass, Glen Duncan on fiddle and Lloyd Green on pedal steel. The core players are augmented by a horn section for Bobby Blue Bland’s “She’s Puttin’ Something in My Food,” and sound really together as a band, suggesting Lynch is as accomplished at leading a band as he is leading a business.