Kevin Carroll

Redemption Day

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On his excellent debut album, Kevin Carroll displays a pleasing variety of styles within an Americana/roots rock framework. The guitarist -- who is most often compared to the late Gram Parsons as well as classic rockers like the Rolling Stones and the Faces -- can fashion great pop tunes, like the opening selection, "Learning to Crawl," or draw from the folk stylings of artists like Bob Dylan or the Band, as shown on the album-closing "Ballad of the Sad Clown." The Austin-based band exhibits a Texas blues swagger on "Ain't Through With You," while songs like "Ropes & Trees" lean more toward country. Meanwhile, "These Chains" is soulful, while "Swine" shows a touch of Celtic resembling the Pogues. The ballad "I Just Can't Fall" shows Carroll taking on a John Lennon-like intonation in his voice. The songs are definitely geared toward album-oriented rock, as half of the ten songs exceed five minutes in length. It can sometimes take quite a while to reach the hook in a song, but this drawback is easily overcome by the variety of styles which make this album a rewarding listen.