Americana country artist Kenny Butterill doesn't root himself only in Americana in his eclectic second album, Just A Songwriter. Offerings on this disc include contemporary country, slow jazz, blues, folk, reggae and combinations of the aforementioned. While this diversity is commendable and even singular in today's musical environment, it seems scattered and disorganized.
One thing this album has going for it is snappy, though usually predictable, instrumentals, especially when the saxophone flows through the jazzy ballad "Making Love In L.A." The harmonica and the occasional electric guitar riff enhance also, but Butterill's vocal performance is only mediocre. This problem is highlighted even more when some of the instrumental smothers Butterill's voice making it difficult to discern lyrics.
Speaking of lyrics, Butterill wrote them all, which explains why the album as a whole is hit and miss on quality. The words of "Is There More?" prove Butterill's capability of making the listener ponder through song writing, while cuts such as "Vegetarian Dead Cow Blues" in all its absurdity leads one to question Butterill's rationale in pulling songs from his catalog. The writing here just doesn't demonstrate the finesse of the pros.
Butterill, a Canadian-born songwriter, pitched a few songs in the early 90's before an internet audience urged him to make his own CD. His first CD, No One I Know, got Butterill recognized in Canada and Europe, where his single "How Far Can We Go?" became the first Americana single to hit #1.
Just A Songwriter might be a hit with Butterill's loyal fan base, but today's radio audience will probably pass on it.