Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kevin Gilbert - Thud

Kevin Gilbert - Thud
Kevin Gilbert (1966 – 1996) was an accomplished composer, singer and instrumentalist whose talents also extended to producing and engineering. He formed his own group Giraffe and later became the pivotal member of Toy Matinee along with producer Patrick Leonard. During his professional career he worked with several established pop musicians such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Money, David Berwald, Timothy B. Schmit, Marc Bonilla Linda Perry and Keith Emerson. He was part of the songwriting collective "The Tuesday Music Club" that met at producer Bill Bottrell's studio in Pasadena, California. The group would get together, drink beer, jam, and write songs. Crow became part of the Club and, within a few months, her debut album, released in 1993, was crafted around the songs and spirit of the collective. Gilbert co-wrote many of the songs on that album, including 1995 Grammy Record of the Year "All I Wanna Do". Then in March 1995 Kevin Gilbert released his first solo album. Thud is a troubled masterpiece simultaneously angry and outraged and full of the beauty and regret of this world. It's a work of pure art forged through bleak turmoil. It's the sound of someone sinking into a pit of despair and yet creating a timeless work of heart-rending beauty in the process. Talent, brilliance and raw emotion bring this production to life. Complex lyrics, biting commentary, insightful and heartfelt observations about relationships, human nature, politics, social concepts and commentary are mixed with thoughtful melody arrangements and instrumentation in a variety of musical styles, dry, witty, and emotional vocal performances all immaculately produced and beautifully recorded and mixed. It's pop rock that seemed unfortunately doomed to semi-obscurity from the start, too cerebral and literate to be radio-friendly, too downbeat to be catchy and too skewed and offbeat to be mainstream. Gilbert's real power lies in his ability to make you look at yourself and realize that you could be working a little bit harder at making yourself a better person without being moralized by him. Thud touches on some varied themes and thoughts universal to all of us, wrapped in wonderfully inspired simple and profound lyrics and still manages to make it all beautifully accessible without putting off those folks who're just looking for a memorable tune. And that just might prove to have been Gilbert's biggest talent of all. This album works on so many levels whether you want something to weird you out, make you laugh, make you think, make you dance, make your thoughts drift into space or give you some hope. The songs leave you in emotional shambles. Gilbert alternates between black humor, sarcasm and heartfelt honesty, delivered with conviction. "Goodness Gracious" and "Waiting" spit pure venom at our society while "All Fall Down" looks at it with more of a fatal resignation. "Tea for One" and "Tears of Audrey" are personal laments as simply honest and sadly beautiful as you're ever likely to hear. And still, after it all, there's "Song for a Dead Friend", which leaves the listener with the most haunting impression once the CD fades into silence. Kevin Gilbert is no longer with us. He died a death probably not fitting for someone who seemed to be such a broad and compassionate soul. He died on the verge of immense success two years after the release of Thud. His death makes several moments on Thud rather eerie but after listening to Thud you'll find yourself a little richer. Some distributions of the album were also co-packaged with a bonus CD including Gilbert’s cover of Led Zepelin's "Kashmir" rockingly reworked with Indian percussion, plus alternate versions of “Goodness Gracious”, "Waiting" and "Joytown”. Personnel are: Kevin Gilbert on vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and cello, Bill Bottrell on backing vocals, guitar, pedal steel guitar and engineering, Brian MacLeod on drums, percussion, Dan Schwartz on bass, Robert Ferris on backing vocals and Skip Waring, Toby Holmes, Jay Mueller and Bruce Friedman as the brass section. Thud was released by PRA [Patrick Rains & Associates] Records, an independent record label owned by Patrick Rains that has released records by artists such as Marcus Miller, John Waite, Charm Farm, Kevin Gilbert, Tim Pierce, and The Big Geraniums. Patrick Rains & Associates is also a music management company that manages the careers of David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Jonatha Brooke, Tower of Power, The Crusaders and Randy Crawford. This posting was created with the help of some Amazon reviewers, so thanks to wadrad, Reymond Peck and spiral mind.
Track Listing:
1. When You Give Your Love to Me
2. Goodness Gracious
3. Joytown
4. Waiting
5. Tea for One
6. Shadow Self
7. The Tears of Audrey
8. Shrug (Because of Me and You)
9. All Fall Down
10. Song for a Dead Friend
Buy it at PRA Records, Amazon (not for $154 !!) or

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