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John Kilzer - Scars (Archer Records)

Star rating: 
3

The sentiments in the opening verse, 'It ain't no big deal, I've got a flatbed truck, Half a tank of gas and sixteen bucks..' in a half Eagles, half Springsteen delivery, would probably not be immediately associated with the thoughts of an ordained Minister, yet this is by no means the only surprise on SCARS, the new album by Jackson, Tennessee-born, now Memphis resident singer songwriter John Kilzer. This second album release for Memphis based Archer Records, is made up of eleven new original songs, written in just under three weeks, and each delivered with Kilzer's unmistakable gritty vocal. Produced by Matt Ross-Spang (John Prine, Jason Isbell), SCARS was recorded with old school attitudes, from behind the glass, live off the floor, with vibrant results.

The American Blues, the first single from the album, is a pretty much down to earth no nonsense cut, although It sounds the most commercially appealing, whereas Hello Heart demonstrates Kilzer's more sensitive side, with a soulful performance; "all Memphis music is soul music" concludes Kilzer. The optimistic acoustic title song alludes to Kilzer's own demons of the past, a dark highway well travelled and the eventual sanctity of a Masters of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary, together with a PhD in religious studies from London’s Middlesex University and his current status as Reverend Doctor Kilzer at St John's United Methodist Church in Memphis. A former athlete, teacher and Geffen Records recording artist, we get the feeling through these songs that his journey is nowhere near complete.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky