My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Kevin Moon – ‘Throwback’

throwbackWhen reviewing the year’s releases for my end of year lists, I realised that I never reviewed this album properly. As the album’s title hints, Alabaman Kevin Moon is a thorough going traditionalist who could have been a big star if he had been around in the late 80s or early 90s – the era of most of the songs on this album. He has a fabulous country voice with rich tones and characterful inflections, and he stands up well against the stars who guest on this album.

He teamed up with Ken Mellons (who he sounds very like) to rework the latter’s ‘Honky Tonk Teachers’. It’s an appropriate choice with its loving tribute to the great country singers of the past, and this version is great.

Kevin pays tribute to the late Keith Whitley a number of times, starting with a nice version of ‘Til A Tear Becomes A Rose’, with Rhonda Vincent taking Lorrie Morgan’s duet part. This is one track where the original is better, but it is a beautiful song with a lovely melody. Whitley wrote ‘Hopelessly Yours’, recorded by John Conlee, George Jones, and Lee Greenwood/Suzy Bogguss. Moon’s cover is an emotional duet with young singer Mary Sarah. The heartbreaking ‘Tennessee Courage’ serves as tribute to both Whitley and to Vern Gosdin, and is performed with two artists who should have been stars, Wesley Dennis and Kevin Denney, and a younger singer I hadn’t previously come across but who bears further investigation, Billy Droze.

Another star not currently available to help out is Randy Travis, so Travis’s one-time protégé Daryle Singletary helps out on an excellent version of ‘The Storms Of Life’. Conway Twitty’s son Michael assists on the sentimental ‘That’s My Job’.

John Anderson guests on his early 90s comeback hit. ‘Straight Tequila Night’ – again, I prefer the original, but this is still good. Marty Raybon’s voice blends beautifully with Moon’s on a lovely version of Shenandoah’s ‘Moon Over Georgia’. Doug Stone still sounds good on a version of his ‘I’d Be Better Off (In A Pine Box)’. ‘You’ve Got To Stand For Something’ features Aaron Tippin, but is less forceful than the original.

A couple of new songs are included. ‘Low Key’ dreams about a much-needed beach vacation, mixing a steel guitar dominated arrangement with Spanish-influenced guitar, and is nicely done. The title track strings together quotes from a selection of great country classics and calls for some throwback country, “with some drinkin’, cheatin’ lyin’, leavin’”, and is quite clever.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable album from a young man with a lot of talent. The lack of originality in making most of the material cover songs is ameliorated by making them duets with, in most cases the original stars.

Grade: A

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7 responses to “Album Review: Kevin Moon – ‘Throwback’

  1. luckyoldsun December 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I never heard before of a proverbial “nobody” managing to do a whole album of star or near-star duets. I don’t know if it means this guy’s really good or that he has a really aggressive, well-connected manager-promoter behind him!

    • Ken December 11, 2015 at 9:47 am

      Though the folks that Kevin duets with here are talented for sure you have to admit that they are not exactly “A” list acts. They are either folks that haven’t made it yet or were “B” list acts from back in the 90’s. The exception is Rhonda Vincent although her notoriety is primarily centered in the the bluegrass field. Most of the veteran acts were likely thrilled to be asked to participate as they have generally dropped off the mainstream country music radar these days. At that stage of your career you are thrilled when anybody wants to work with you.

  2. luckyoldsun December 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    OK.
    I’d say John Anderson and Marty Raybon (as part of Shenandoah) were A or A-minus acts and Aaron Tippin, though perhaps a B-lister, certainly had a successful commercial career. But I’ll admit, it’s not quite George and Garth and Alan and Reba that are dueting here.

  3. Paul W Dennis December 13, 2015 at 9:29 am

    My two cents worth:

    This is a really good album and whether or not the guest artists are “A” or “B” list artists isn’t of much importance since all of them acquit themselves well on this album. I downloaded this album yesterday and have been kicking myself for not downloading it earlier.

    Doug Stone, Aaron Tippin and John Anderson had extended stays at or near the top and while Michael Twitty never achieved stardom himself, he is a capable stand-in for the man who was very the definition of an “A” list artist

    postscript – It is worth attending a bluegrass festival just to see Marty Raybon & Full Circle. He is still a terrific singer and the bands repertoire is about 1/3 Shenandoah, 2/3 bluegrass and gospel and 100% great

  4. moonmusic14 December 1, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I just want to thank y’all for the kind words. I certainly had a ball making this project. We just finished up on a brand new record loaded with many original songs. I sure hope you’ll review that one as well. Thank you!

  5. Paul W Dennis December 2, 2016 at 6:39 am

    We look forward to hearing it

  6. Pingback: Album Review: Kevin Moon – ‘The Kevin Moon EP’ | My Kind of Country

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