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Music Review - 'The Long Road Home' Kevin Deal (dm)

Kevin Deal - The Long Road Home

25 August 2019

 

Kevin Deal

Kevin Deal, a Texas singer/songwriter, aims for the heart, and throws a bullseye on his new record, “The Long Road Home.” The lyrically diverse collection of songs explores the contradictory swirl of emotions in which everyone invariably finds themselves. The road where joy and melancholy meet – familiar to us all – is where Deal composes his music and sings his verses and choruses.

The title track is a beautiful country reflection on the exhaustion and agony that accompanies the search for redemption and belonging. It serves as a great opening shot for a record that navigates the variety of internal geography – from the bone-chilling rage and desire for revenge of “The Reckoning” to the hope and whimsy of “Pushing Away the Dark.”

Deal’s honest vocal delivery helps him land the world-weary wisdom of his lyrics with resonance. When he sings “If you can’t put it down / Don’t pick it up,” he is not merely demonstrating his clever facility of language. He is showing the scars, it would seem, of an authentic life. “Keeping The Faith,” the record closer is a soul-stirring affirmation of resilience and persistence in the face of life’s inevitable traumas, and it offers punctuation on all of the emotional turmoil Deal spent earlier songs so deftly depicting.

The music provides a powerful complement to the lyrics. Deal has assembled a band of expert players, and his arrangements are sufficiently dynamic and textured, without sacrificing the subtlety and simplicity that makes songs of the country and Americana genres work so well. The emotive and effectual harmony vocals of Terri Hendrix might make some listeners wish that Deal made more consistent use of the backup singer. Their duet on the gospel song, “Broken Upon the Rock,” fully captures their potential, but also incites the desire for more of the same.

The delicate and intricate guitar work of Mills Chaiken creates the same longing. Small quibbles aside, Deal creates a collection of songs with intimate power – communicating transcendent truths in a style of artistry that telegraphs Americana’s potential.

  

 David Masciotra

 

 

David Masciotra (www.davidmasciotra.com) is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 

  

 

 


 

 

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