“Just A Songwriter” – Kenny Butterill Album Review by Brian Ahern
Canadian Kenny Butterill has lived in America since the ’80s. He currently lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, thriving on the isolation and solitude that the wilderness offers him. He is the gentle and concerning type of guy that you would want for your best friend. His forte is song writing hence this brand new album Just A Songwriter. It follows the critically acclaimed debut album No One You Know, which introduced Kenny to the followers of the alt country Americana Charts and the European Radio Charts where his single “How Far Can We Go” made # 1 – this song also spent several months on the Canadian Charts.
Kenny has a laid back voice in the mode of Tony Joe White or Mark Knopfler. This bluesy feel is ideal for his intelligent story songs and sublime melodies that are presented with a “lived-in’ integrity that states “I have been there on the inside now I am looking to tell the clear story my way.” Kenny is one of those all too rare breeds of believable storytellers who makes you think, rather than pushing it in your face. I am a fan!
The title track “Just A Songwriter” opens up in anthem style to set the scene for the whole affair – this is Kenny’s story within his song. “My Austin Angel” goes into the Texas Alt-Country scene with clever wordplay and gentle melody linking to sell the song. “Canadian Road Trip” is a blues shuffle from coast to coast on the road. It hits a super groove too.
“The Email Song” in this computer age. Kenny’s way was with the power of the Internet to help create his market and fame and I dare say link him to old friends as the song implies. Nice idea and nice laid-back song. “Gotta Find A Woman” mixes acoustic blues with high recording technology with the four-part harmony sung by one guy John Lee Sanders. You cannot see the high tech only the front porch. “Felton’s Place” finds a Jerry Garcia groove while paying respect to Felton Pruitt one of the pioneers of the Americana music movement. The mood puts you into that area called Felton’s Place.
“Are You Surprised?” is a cool piece of alt country with some brilliant interplay between Canadian guitarist Ray Bonneville and American harp player Norton Buffalo. Yes, the same Norton from the Steve Miller Band, Commander Cody and many more. “Making Love In L.A.” features the smooth sax of John Lee Sanders alongside Kenny’s blues voice. “Joanne” visits contemporary country in relaxing mood while confessing to an unavailable love. The mood swings towards reggae for “A Couple Of Lines”, again proving Kenny’s immense song writing talent. This song deals with drugs. “If We Were Alone” was first written by Kenny in 1980. It has a campus rock feel about it. All of the instrumental work is credited to Kenny’s old collage friend from that era Doug Hutchison. “Vegetarian Dead Cow Blues” is a smashing country blues shuffle featuring some great acoustic guitar picking and some laid back tongue in cheek humour. “Is There More?” is another questioning song with a powerful sensibility around a cool country groove direct from the back porch. “The Townes You Left Behind” is a splendid tribute to Townes Van Zandt. One of my songwriting heroes. Tell you what! Kenny Butterill is on my list especially after this album.
A couple of bonus tracks “Just A Songwriter” and “Are You Surprised” both extended versions, bring this smashing album to a close far to soon for me.
(reprinted from Country Music & More, UK)
For Interviews and Euro Radio Promotion contact: Fred Boenig – Americana Media Productions