As a word man and a songwriter, I still take delight in instrumental music, and the love of the lyricless note. And there is no guitarist that makes a bigger or more beautiful note to my ears than does Steve Kimock. On top of being a superlative stringmeister and composer, he is also an expert in the field of what we'd called tone: the complicated interplay of guitar parts and especially pickups, the many gizmos of various vintages that inhabit the signal chain, and lastly and crucially the guitar amplifier, that tonemaking device that takes the signal and deals with it in a myriad mysterious ways, and sends it out the speaker in its enclosure, and these last elements put the last and telling voice to the sound. (A Kimock quote on guitar sound from long ago: "It doesn't matter what you're trying to do, or what you think you're doing. All that matters in the end is what's coming out of that speaker.") Steve and I both did our time at Mesa/Boogie, a maverick and wonderful amplifier establishment in Northern CA, and lived to tell our separate but forever entwined tales. More is made of this and other things Kimockian in our interview with the artist, and our review of his live DVD.
But hey, most the crowd doesn't give a damn about any of that. They like the sound, but it's about the jam, it's about the groove, it's about the scene. And the Steve Kimock Band has created a scene around the world that grows every day now. This new release is the long awaited and very satisfying first ever studio release of this road honed quintet.
Also significant is that it's come out on SCI Records, one arm of the empire of the String Cheese Incident, a most enterprising fixture of the jam band world.
Eudemonic is dedicated to the late Doug Greene, a late and beloved member of the extended Kimock family. Eudemonic is a word he used (the titular noun is a takeoff on "You da mon") to mean something that generates bliss, well being, or happiness. "One for Brother Mike" is another beautiful eulogistic gesture for a departed friend (and this writer's brother.)
The other members of the SKB are powerhouses in their own right. Though the live band has undergone a couple of recent changes, Mitch Stein on guitar and Rodney Holmes remain. The keyboardist on Eudemonic is the prodigious Jim Kost, and the globally celebrated Alphonso Johnson lords over the low frequencies. Mitch Stein is a fascinating part of the mix, and only when I've seen the band perform do I understand by watching the essential parts he is forever contributing. Drummer Rodney Holmes, on the other hand, is often a co-composer with Steve, and his power and grace is astonishing. He has also lent his talents widely to acts like the Brecker Brothers and Santana, but with Kimock he comes on like a demon unchained.
Lend your ears to the clips on the Listen page, and we know lots of our readers will be picking up a copy of Eudemonic.
see more of Robert Minkin's photos here
see more of Kene Sperry's photos here