Kieran Kane / Kevin Welch

You Can't Save Everybody

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You Can't Save Everybody Review

by Rick Anderson

The phenomenon of young white men from Brooklyn doing their best to sound like old black men from Mississippi is by now so thoroughly institutionalized in pop music that it doesn't even raise an eyebrow. Which is a good thing for Kieran Kane, who's not that young anymore but is still plenty white, and whose songs tend to sound as if they'd been scraped up out of the Delta mud and wiped off perfunctorily before being performed. Kevin Welch, a native Oklahoman and longtime Nashville resident, comes by his regional inflections a bit more honestly, and writes from a similarly rough-hewn perspective. The two of them collaborate beautifully on this spare, moody collection of originals and cover songs, an album that shines brightest in its dark, quiet moments and falters only when it descends into tired homily. For the former, check out Kane's lovely but resigned title track and Welch's gentle but powerful rendition of Ron Davies' "Dark Eyed Gal," and, best of all, Welch's quietly glorious "Prayer Like Any Other," which closes the album. For an example of the latter, check out the obvious and deeply banal anti-corporate screed "Everybody's Working for the Man Again." Highly recommended overall.

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