Since the 1990s the reputable, six-string, slide & glide gunslinger JIM KIRKPATRICK has been a hired vigilante for the best rock ensembles on the planet…
From the popular Heavy Weather, to the brilliant tour guitarist for English folk-rock superstar Thea Gilmore (this brought opportunities for concerts and radio shows in the United States and a tour with American folk legend Joan Baez) to earn a place alongside rock legend, the sainted Bernie Marsden, as his esteemed slide guitarist in the Post-Whitesnake era, post Moody-Marsden, Bernie Marsden Band.
And his work with work with Rhino’s Revenge (Status Quo bassist John Edwards’ band) and with the Grammy-award winner Mike Farris (of Double Trouble fame) as well as Robert Hart (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band singer) Nev MacDonald (Phil Campbell) and famed rock vocalist Chris Ousey, and more recently the Chris Bevington Organization, has brought Jim lasting praise and unwavering admiration.
Though it’s perhaps Jim’s time (2008- current) as a guitarist with the celebrated British AOR band FM that has brought him most attention and recognition.
Jim has toured & recorded with FM and played the biggest stages and at the most prestigious festivals, to support household names such as Thin Lizzy, Journey, Foreigner, Kiss, Whitesnake and Heart.
But now Jim releases his solo album, titled “Ballad of a Prodigal Son” — a twelve-track: “blues-rock outing with some songs co-written with friends and some fine contributions from many of my colleagues…” due Sept 4th 2020 via US One Records.
Jim facilitates the kind of easily accessible blues-rock style that is perhaps most frequently associated with the sounds generated by Ready an’ Willing era Whitesnake.
Title track “Ballad Of A Prodigal Son” (shared below) has a corking riff and spiffy vocals that refer to the idiosyncratic ideals of the Republic La Concha and, with it, lyrics to suggest that the life of a blues guitar-man is sometimes a bit mischievous, always tireless and often peripatetic. This number is shipshape and neatly proficient and brings to mind the dexterity and adroitness of Richie Kotzen perhaps with the acute persuasiveness of Walter Trout.
“Be Hard With It” has a substantial riff and plenty of squelch. There’s some thumping clacketty rhythms and vibrant vocals. It’s kinda Aerosmithy, certainly with a Toys in the Attic buzz to it. When the swashbuckling guitar breaks free it’s as sharp as a pirate’s cutlass. This number twinkles like jewels in a casket.
“Ain’t Goin’ Down Alone” has an audatory blues-riff, calibrated sparks of lead guitar and inspired / driven vocals — of plumcot & gingersnap — to bring a sense of guiltless avowal. This is the loftiest blues you’ll have heard in a while, with the most torrid guitar-play this side of the Mason–Dixon line and some demon-ridden voicework.
The brooding “Brave New World” is a slow-stepping and introspective ballad that wouldn’t have been out-of-place on the middlebrow, soft-rockish “Front Page News” album (by Wishbone Ash, 1977) — furnished with superbly sparkling guitars, synth touches, beautifully harmonic vocals and superior songcraft. You’d be forgiven if you thought that the cresting guitar spectacle that swaggers mid-way point on this memorable track was delivered by Ocean Boulevard-era Clapton himself. Yes, this is a lush corporate-style rock number redolent of the late 70’s or early 80’s — and with all the style and sophistication the sub-genre brought.
File alongside: Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Words: @neilmach 2020 ©