Tales from The Psychedelta
Kerry Kearney is among my favorite slide guitarists. Although not as well-known as Sonny Landreth or Roy Rogers, Kearney has been honing his craft for over forty years. Many of Kearney’s most sought after recordings are long out of print. This collection was remastered by Chris Wallitsch at the Dream Studio in Bellmore, Long Island. Now his most masterful tracks can sit nicely next to last years “Smokehouse Serenade”. This new release is Kearney’s eighteenth overall.
The Kerry Kearney Band was first formed in the mid-1990’s. Their debut album was 1996’s “Blow Your House Down”. Kearney was already voted the “Best Guitarist of 1999” by the Long Island Voice before releasing 2001’s ground breaking “Welcome To The Psychedelta”; the first in a series of albums that would combine traditional delta blues with Kearney’s own originals. One critic said it best, “when carbon copy seems to have become the set standard of musical style, it is refreshing to enjoy a performance of original artistry…Kearney’s songwriting includes honest lyrics and music performed with the emotion, energy and unquestionable command of his instrument.”
Four of the songs on this twelve track compilation first appeared on that 1996 debut. Kearney opens with two of his earliest originals “Five Time Man” and “Fatherless Boy”. Also from that first album is “Runnin’, Weepin’, Tremblin’”; and a cover of “Trouble in Mind” first recorded in 1924; the song finally inducted into The Blues Foundation’s “Hall of Fame” as a “Classic of Blues Recording” earlier this year. Kearney, also a great vocalist, sings “Trouble in mind, I’m Blue, but I won’t be blue always, ‘cause the sun’s gonna shine in my back door someday” before taking one of his signature slide solos.
Three more originals are reprised from “Welcome to The Psychedelta” including “Thank you, Jesus” a vocal duet with Sam “Bluzman” Taylor; the fabulous “Memphis High”; and “World Train”. In 2004 the Long Island Blues Society voted Kearney “Bluesman of the Year”. As a direct result Kearney shared the stage with B.B. King; opened for the Robert Cray Band, the Blues Brothers, and ZZ Top; and toured with the Allman Brothers.
On follow-up recordings Kearney continued to combine his fabulous originals with re-arranged covers. Included is 2005’s “Voodoo Down the River”; and the traditional “Lawdy Mama” waxed in 2007. From his 2012 album “Ghosts of the Psychedelta” Kearny includes his “Mississippi River Stomp” featuring David Bennett Cohen on piano; and a cover of Arthur Crudup’s “Mean Old Frisco” first recorded in 1956. Kearney closes with a fabulous two-song medley “Schaefer Time/Duck House” from another out-of-print recording.
One Long Island radio personality stated “Kearney’s signature guitar sound is inspirational and evokes raw emotion…the musical notes create an oral experience that equals the vibrant colors that become a visual masterpiece on canvas”. Take it from me, once you enter the Psychedelta, you will find the beautiful slide guitar and soul of Kerry Kearney.