Big Kat Kaylor

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Scattered Review

by Cub Koda

Nashville boogie piano man and songwriter Mike "Big Kat" Kaylor makes a big splash with the 11 tracks on this, his debut album. Connected to mainstream country only by mutual geographical locale, Kaylor is a bona fide soul man more than a piano-pounding wildman, his well-worn voice imparting a wistfulness to his lyrics that really brings these songs to life. Producer and multi-instrumentalist (seven different listings in the booklet) Robert Stapleton is also co-writer or lone writer of eight of the 11 tunes on here, and through the miracle of overdubbing often functions as the complete band on several tracks. The title track is based on a phrase used by waitresses at the Waffle House chain of Southern restaurants, connecting a mental state to directions for preparing hash browns. But this good-humored wordplay is tempered with the dark-hued lyricism of "Hard to Take It Alone," "Still a Man," and "Set Me Down Easy." But the varied writing on here works well with Kaylor at the center of it all, and his jazzy "Bar Room Blues," with its bittersweet lyrics and changes, is as powerful as anything on here. Not exactly blues, soul, jazz, rhythm & blues or adult contemporary, but a rather heady mixture of all of it, Mike Kaylor has come up with a very original-sounding debut outing here. File under impressive.

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