Bern Kelly's got an inviting voice that will draw your ear in. You'll wonder where you heard it before -- it's got a sweet quality to it, but there's a rasp that tells of long nights and tales to go with them. Lost Films certainly has some punchy stuff, that's not quite the point. Kelly has used Lost Films to showcase his top picks from ten years' worth of songwriting. It shows. The songs ramble through various micro-ecosystems of Americana, and their well-worn feel will again make you wonder if you've heard them somewhere before. But it's Kelly's painterly approach that will make Lost Films stand out.
A native of Pennsylvania coal country, Kelly's songs are populated with characters whose luck has run out. Songs like "Cash In the Basement" blow the roof off the house while venting rage at the day-to-day routine of working life. "Julie" is a power-pop extravaganza of heartbreak remiscent of the Lemonheads or Gin Blossoms. But it's "Madeline Street," a 7-minute meditation on long-lost love and the ravages of time that stand out -- it's both Kelly's and my favorite of the album. Kelly and his band of Nashville session stalwarts truly stretch out here -- toeing the line between cosmic country and what your grandparents are used to hearing. It's easy to hear Kelly finding even surer footing as he matures as a songwriter.
And for my money, Kelly reminds me of Brian Fallon.
Bern Kelly -- Official, Facebook, Spotify
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