Jim Keller

Sunshine in My Pocket

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Jim Keller has spent the last decade on the non-performing side of the music business, running the management and publishing companies of classical composer Philip Glass, but once upon a time, he was the co-founder, with Tommy Heath, of the power pop band Tommy Tutone, and he co-authored their gold-selling Top Five hit of 1982, "867-5309/Jenny," with Alex Call. If this long-in-the-works solo album is any indication, one reason why Keller stuck to guitar and left the lead singing to Heath in Tommy Tutone may have been that his voice is so similar to that of another singer popular in the early ‘80s, Willy DeVille. On Sunshine in My Pocket, Keller employs the same sort of sonorous, nasal baritone heard on the Mink DeVille LPs that shared record store space with those of Tommy Tutone. None of that band's frisky pop/rock energy is to be heard here. Rather, Keller is a dyed-in-the-wool folk-rock singer/songwriter with a slightly bluesy edge. Think John Hiatt, though Keller's songs are more generic than Hiatt's distinctive compositions. All of which is to say that Sunshine in My Pocket is a good album that will be particularly enjoyable to fans of the genre, but it doesn't stand out enough to rise above the genre. And there are a lot of good folk-rock singer/songwriters out there already.

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