Western Beat

Singer-songwriter Kevin Welch wears his hair long, cascading down his back, as if to say, ”I’m not your average Nashville hillbilly.” Not surprisingly, he makes records to match his tonsorial statement. Backed by his band, the Overtones, which can lay down the law on the rockabillyish ”Happy Ever After (Comes One Day at a Time)” or acoustically embellish the mystical ”Early Summer Rain” with the delicacy of a lace maker, Welch bypasses the usual country themes and instrumentation to make a record for New Age cowpokes who spend more time on the psychiatrist’s couch than on the barstool. Most of the songs on Western Beat, his second album, work to nourish the emotionally and spiritually depleted, as Welch divides his time between soothing the shattered nerves of the romantically disenfranchised (”The Other Side”) and spinning ironic story-songs (”Sam’s Town”). If his singing sometimes sounds too much like John Prine or Rodney Crowell, his songwriting voice still rises above the pack. B+

Western Beat
  • Music