Jerry Kilgore enjoyed a short major label career just over a decade ago with the top 40 hit ‘Love Trip’ but is probably better known as co-writer of Tracy Byrd’s hit ‘Love Lessons’. His excellent 2007 self-release Loaded & Empty got him some attention, and has now been followed up with another fine record.
The steel-drenched production (by the artist with James Mitchell) has only fiddle missing from the pure country mix and is an aural delight with a relaxed Strait-style feel on much of the material. Jerry’s voice isn’t the most distinctive, but it is nice and he has mature, lovely phrasing. The songs were all written or co-written by Jerry, and are all pretty solid lyrically, while he has a great knack for writing melodies, and there is a good mix of moods and tempos.
It opens well with ‘Can’t Hide A Heartache’, an excellent song offering sympathy and hope for the future to a heartbroken woman. The advice is backed up by the personal experience given in the ensuing song, the mellow ‘Life Goes On’, about getting over someone, with time having done its healing job and the worst now well in the past.
‘Places To Go’ has a similar slow laid back and faintly melancholic feel and insidiously attractive melody, portraying a restless drifter not quite sure what he is ultimately looking for, as he admits he “might be looking for something that just can’t be found”. But he’s moving on anyway,
Cause I got places to go and people to leave
The highway is callin’ my name as we speak
I’m not one to quiet the call of the road, don’t you know?
Brother and sister duo Nicole and Jonathan Broussard sing backing vocals.
Randy Kohrs provides backing vocals on ‘Leavin’ Feelin’’, another tale of a serial leaver who gets a “cold lonesome feeling” whenever permanency is on offer, set to a lovely tune with plenty of steel guitar. Elsewhere, we learn the perils of sticking around after breaking someone’s heart, especially living in a small town where ‘Everybody Knows Me’, not to mention the girl. The mournful ‘The Truth’ looks at the reasons behind a breakup:
People will believe what they want to
No matter what you say or do
There’s three sides to every story
Your side, my side and the truth
‘If Ya Wanna Keep Your Beer Cold’ is a sardonic honky tonker, warning against a beautiful woman in a bar:
She’s the coolest woman that I’ve ever seen
That good looking woman’s only good for one thing
You shoulda kept your distance
Cause she tore you all apart
If ya wanna keep your beer cold
Put it next to her heart
Don’t need no cooler
Don’t need no Frigidaire
No ice is necessary long as she’s near
A similar jaundiced mood appears in the amusing irony of ‘Born Rich’:
How in the world did he get her?
A strange little dude with a beautiful girl
Bet his daddy’s got money
Bought him the car that he drives
Bank account the size of Texas gets ‘em every time
Here’s a guy like me sittin’ here all alone
Hell, I can barely pay my bar tab
Got nobody I’m takin’ home
But I caught her lookin’ at me
While she’s a-hangin’ all over him
Who’s she tryin to fool?
We all know what it is
Wish I had been born rich
Instead of so damn good lookin’
I keep holding out hope that some day I will find
A looker of my own looking for a leading man type
Somebody who’ll want me for my body and not my billfold
Until she comes along I’ll feed my own ego
Someone like Toby Keith could have a big hit with this song.
The enjoyable self-confident swingy ‘Do My Own Thing’ is about being comfortable with yourself even if it isn’t “the in thing”. ‘Ain’t On the Menu’ is a cute love letter to a waitress the bashful protagonist has had a crush on for the past year. ‘Right Where You Belong’ is a mellow love ballad set just after the couple have spent their first night together.
In ‘Cinnamon Bay’ the protagonist is ready for a change of scenery and invites his sweetheart along to a beach trip. It’s pleasant with a pretty melody, and while the lyric is nothing special, it’s nice to hear a beach song that actually sounds country.
The memorable title track is quite different from the rest of the record, a sexy southern gothic story song about an illicit affair with a married woman. Jerry growls it out, using the lowest part of his vocal register, and giving ist a sense of urgency and impending doom, although the secret is still in the bag as we end the song.
Gonna Telephone, Texas, just as fast I can
There’s a woman who’s down there with too much time on her hands
Sure as death and taxes she’s in need of a man
I only know I gotta get there
Before she gets out of hand…
Leavin’ Telephone, TX, just as fast as I can
Keepin’ love under cover
Feelin’ guilty as sin
Leavin Telephone, TX, as she’s sneakin back in
Never know just how long til she’s callin’ again
I enjoyed this record a lot, and it’s worth checking out. You can sample it via Youtube.