Kerry Kearney is a slide guitarist deserving additional recognition. Although not as well known as Sonny Landreth or Roy Rogers his fretwork at times has been compared to theirs. Long Island’s Kearney has been performing for over forty years as this is his seventeenth recording.
A review of his 2001 “Welcome to the Psycodelta” album stated “when carbon copy seems to have become the set standard of musical style, it is refreshing to enjoy a performance of original artistry…no stylistic replication…but a fresh innovative voice…Kearney’s songwriting includes honest lyrics and music performed with emotion, energy, and unquestionable command of his instrument”. Soon after the albums release The Long Island Blues Society voted Kearney “Bluesman of The Year”.
Another review, this time of his 2012 “Ghosts of The Psycodelta” boiled it down “Kearney’s signature guitar sound is inspirational and evokes raw emotion on several levels. The musical notes that come through Kearney’s fingers create an oral experience that equals the vibrant colors that become a visual masterpiece on canvas”.
In August of 2018 some of the material on this album was released as “Black – Revised”. Now that EP has been finalized and expanded to complete this full length recording. The Kerry Kearney Band includes Kearney, guitars, banjo and vocals; Mario Staiano, drums and percussion; Gerry Sorrentino, bass; David Bennett Cohen, piano; and Charlie Wolfe, harmonica. All of the songs were written by Kearney except where noted.
The opening track “Shakin’ Like Jelly” features Long Island’s Frank Latorre. Latorre is a harmonica ace who recorded with Johnny Winter and who also fronts his own band. Latorre helps enrich Kearney’s vocal and guitar performance.
“Goin’ to the Mardi Gras” is an original, not the Professor Longhair classic; featured is Kearney with a fabulous vocal, Wolfe on harp, and a solo from trombonist Victor Poretz. “Pretty Baby” features pianist Cohen who was a member of Country Joe & The Fish.
Kearney’s guitar work is incandescent on “Long Tall Mama”; “Creole Woman”, “Fireplug”, “No Way Back Blues”, “Wake Me, Shake Me, Bake Me”, and on “Girl From Memphis” on which his guitar and dobro is once again joined by Wolfe on harp . This is a comprehensive collection of guitar styles as Kearney can do it all.
“Statesboro Blues” is the Blind Willie McTell classic that was popularized by the Allman Brothers. “Sittin’ On Top of The World” written by Walter Jacobs Vinson was recorded by The Mississippi Sheiks in 1930. Stephen Foster’s “Camptown Races” is so old that it was published way back in 1850; after a short banjo intro Kearney saddles up, gets on his horse and rides.
Regardless of which guitar style he chooses, Kearney will put a spell on you.