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CD: Kev Wright – Journey Road

Kev
Wright –
Journey
Road
The
solo release by former
Righteous Hillbillies
guitar- slinger Kev
Wright
is a brilliant artistic offering not
merely for what it contains, but for what is missing. The
guitar-shredding virtuosity which Kev Wright fans have come to expect
from his previous work with RH, both on their albums and blistering
live performances, is for the most part absent on this album, taking
a back seat to piano, mandolin, and harmonica. Those who find
themselves disappointed in this will also find themselves missing the
point. Kev is the artist’s artist, and the songwriter’s
songwriter, and both of the above are the types who refuse to be
pigeonholed or allow themselves to be forced into meeting
expectations.

On
Journey Road, Wright
indeed does just that, which is to take us on a journey through the
heart and soul and blood and guts of his heart, a heart that is as
world-wearied as it is golden, and though both sides of this
battle-scarred veteran’s blood-pumper shine brilliantly on the
record, in the end, it is the heart of gold which prevails. The
musicianship from all the players on Kev’s most excellent and
righteous journey is top notch, but the real star on Journey Road is
the song, and Wright’s straight-from-the-hip poetic lyrics and
storytelling. If it is gratuitous guitar solos you are after, put on
some Eddie Van Halen. If you are looking for masterfully-penned tunes
that stand up there with the best of Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, and
John Prine, then you will do as I have, and spin this one again and
again, and find these wonderful songs helplessly stuck in your head.

From
the country-rockin’
“Someone Else” to
the tear-inducing and heart-warming
“Ol
Black Dog”
to the spiritual “I’ve
Been To the Mountain”
to the dark and
disturbing
“Hey Mr. Barczy,” Kev
Wright brings us along on his epic journey, a journey that takes us
from good times to bad times and back again, through blue-collar days
and love-sick nights, with pit stops in a prison cell or two,
sometimes inside looking out, other times outside looking in, but
always being brutally honest with the subject matter.
Journey
Road is as much an album about life, the good, the bad, and the ugly,
as you will ever get. This introspective work is overflowing with
sincerity and grit and passion. Kev Wright is the last of a breed, a
true musical gypsy and hopeless romantic at heart, who through the
decades has lived through every musical note that paints the
landscape of ups and downs and light and darkness on this album. And
though the man has found a sense of inner peace and solidity within
his loving family, he is not the type to ever stop questioning things
and to take a hard and truthful look at life’s injustices and
uncertainties.

Journey
Road’s 16 songs run the gamut of rustic and sincere Americana,
folk, singer-songwriter, and country. If Wright never cranks out
another record, there is more than enough here to showcase his
genius. But as someone who has been honored with getting a sneak peek
at a plethora of songs from the man’s catalog, I can assure you
that this slab of goodness is only the beginning of the lifetime of
stories and tales that Kev Wright is ready and willing to share with
a weary world, and straight from his time-tested heart of beautiful
gold. 
 
 

Review
by Pete Berwick for 
Country Music News International



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