Love Songs & Life Lines
The Kris Lager Band have made their mark in the Midwest by playing searing blues, rock n’ roll and jam band music. However, if that’s what you were expecting from this release, be ready for a big surprise. This is at heart a folksy feel good Americana album with infectious hooks, a bright vibe, and killer songs. “I wanna lift up your spirits through song and dance!”, Says Kris Lager. “When music is created from a place of love and delivered with good intentions it is undeniably powerful. There’s nothing better than making the people around you feel good. The ultimate compliment for me is when folks come up to me at after a show and say I was having a horrible day or I was in a bad mood and now I feel great.”
Based out of Omaha, Nebraska Kris Lager Band has been spreading their self-dubbed signature “Feel Good Funk & Heavy Soul” for over 15 years. This album has the ‘Feel Good’, is light on the “Funk,’ and has breezy rather than heavy ‘Soul.’. It was recorded at Pony Creek Studios in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and was mixed by Grammy Award Winning Producer, Jim Gaines (Santana, Van Morrison, Steve Miller, Stevie Ray Vaughan). The band got their first big break to perform away from their native region by Indigenous. They backed up frontman and guitar hero, Mato Nanji for over two years and were featured on Indigenous’ release Broken Lands. Kris Lager has also worked and toured alongside Andy Frasco & The U.N. The group covered 3 of Kris’ songs on their 2014 release Half A Man and have made “‘Sunny Day Souldier” a staple at their live shows. This year they also featured the composition on their Ruf Records released live album, Songs From The Road. Tab Benoit produced and recorded their 2013 release Platte River Runaway.
This album is much different. It’s a personal statement from Lager as he reflects on touring while being married with children, the death of his father, and deeper overall looks at the purpose of life as well as mortality. While many writers would lean to the darker side, Lager’s outlook is consistently positive, and uplifting evidenced even just by gleaning the song titles. i.e., (“I Wanna Hold You In My Arms,” “You Know I Love You,” “You and I,” “That’s What Love Is”). Lager is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and pianist for four tracks. The band features veterans Aaron Underwood on bass and background vocals and Scooby Sha Bo Bo (John Fairchild) on drums as well as a young sax player who calls himself Lefever and Alexander Weir on the B3. The album is bookended by two instrumentals and within there’s a sunny, almost tropical Caribbean feel to several of these tunes through the rhythm section. The album is solid throughout but here are four you don’t want to miss: “Sweet Magnolia,” “San Francisco Bound,” “Guiding Light,” and “I’m Still here & I Ain’t Lettin’ Go.” In all, the fourteen tunes will either get you up dancing, bring smiles, or both.
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