Will Kimbrough’s Sideshow Love
Sideshow Love takes all the pretty paper off the gift of love. Or, if we take the carnival metaphor a step further, it’s love as the opposite of a roller coaster, the fun part first, hands up in the air, next to someone special, wind in your face, feeling that feeling … then the ride is over and you hear that chain thing engage and you’re being pulled along somewhere you’re not sure you want to go with someone you’re not so sure you dig so much anymore. And though the chain keeps grinding and pulling you along, there’s no downhill rush to follow, no thrill. Just the grind. You glance out of the car and notice this good-looking thing going into the sideshow next door, and you’re thinking, as you look over the side, it’s not that far down, I could survive the jump.
“A couple of close friends’ marriages were falling apart. I was constantly in touch, thanks to [the] smart phone.” According to Kimbrough, his friends’ text messages became his “CNN” and the writing for this record was based on a “constant stream of emotional news from much loved friends.”
I Want Too Much, a frank take on our hidden agendas juxtaposed against the needs of a spouse, formed the foundation for the record, along with a little ditty called Home Economics. Home Ec strips the veneer right off the romantic relationship, all in good fun. Here’s a 2012 Couch X Couchwest video of Kimbrough doing the song:
After Kimbrough had these two songs, he knew he was on to something. “It felt important to my heart and interesting to my head. So I dove in.”
The result is a record that is arguably Kimbrough’s best work to date – he thinks so. I loved Americanitis, so I’m not ready to declare a winner, but I’ll just say that I’m taken by this one as well. Kimbrough’s fans will be pleased, and Sideshow Love should add some devotees for a hard-working artist who is already one of the most sought after musicians in Nashville.
I’m a lyrics guy, and there’s a lot to love about this record in that department. Kimbrough is smart, and he’s spent enough time around Rodney Crowell to lose any fear he may have had of saying whatever the song calls for. But he’s also a musician’s musician, and he shows that off by playing guitar, mandolin, banjo, electric bass, keyboards and percussion on Sideshow Love. He’s joined by Chris Donohue and Tim Marks who share bass duties, Paul Griffith on drums and percussion, and Lisa Oliver Gray, who sang harmonies.
My favorites on this record include Dance Like Grownups Dance (Pat Buchanan sits in on slide guitar for this one) and the first track, When Your Loving Comes Around. But Kimbrough brings it all in on Let The Big World Spin. The song is a pitch we’ve all heard or made. Paraphrased, it goes like this: Let’s crawl in this bed together. While that big world spins you’re gonna feel quite a kiss, I’m gonna make you happy. Which is, of course, what got us into all the trouble that sparked this record in the first place, which is, of course, the point. Here’s a bad video of that good song (skip to about :50 for beginning of song):
Sideshow Love will be released in February, but Kimbrough is making the record available pre-release at his shows. You should go see him and get the record while you’re there. It’ll be more fun than a roller coaster.