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Will Kimbrough

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Nashville pop's most beloved sideman turns in an excellent record of his own on themes of family, home, and getting a grip on things bigger than a Gretsch neck.

Will's career in Nashville and various southern locales is well documented in past bands like Will and the Bushmen and the near legendary Bis-Quits. In the years since those regionally successful combos, he has recorded and toured with many superlative national and international acts, including Kim Richey, Josh Rouse, Alison Moorer, and especially Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks.

I like this record best in the middle. "Letdown," and especially "War of Words" and "I Love My Baby" are all classic grownup pop, and the Gwil Owen cowrite "Champion of the World" round out my particular favorites. But all the tunes stand up firmly as guitar slinger confessions and concessions to the balancing of career and family.

Old bandmates and friends abound. Grimey (aka Mike Grimes) on bass and baritone, David Gehrke on drums. John Deaderick on keys and Craig Krampf on percussion. Brad Jones cameos on upright, and Mike Daly on steel. Chris Carmicheal does his wonders with strings, he and Jacob Lawson. Wonderful trumpet track from Scotty Huff. Tommy Womack blows harp on one track and Kim Richey sings some beautiful backups.

It's one of the many ironies of rock and roll, that certain artists are such gifted and capable instrumentalists that steady, high profile gigs will sometimes have to step in front of furthering their own original music, but there's a family to feed and bills to pay. Besides, so and so's taking you to Europe or on a national tour, what's the rub? It's all about staying alive doing what you like and what you were born to do.

There's no doubt that Will Kimbrough was born to play the frickin guitar. (And bass, synth, theremin, piano, banjo and accordion…) He's making the world a better place, one note at a time. Check him out on our Listen page, he's great. And buy this new release of Will's here. • FG

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