Music

CD Shorts: Russell Kaback

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Message of Love

(independent)

 

Take a look at the cover of Greenfield musician Russ Kaback’s debut EP, and you might think you know what kind of music awaits. It’s an entrant in the unusual subgenre of musician photos featuring bare feet and acoustic guitar, and Kaback sits in the wilderness. The usual folk singer/songwriter sounds do not, however, await. Kaback has a bare foot in that world, but the other is planted in old-school R&B sensibilities—the (mostly electric) guitars wind their bluesy way through, soul-inflected organ is often present, and horns punctuate some choruses. Put with that Kaback’s soft and smooth vocal delivery, and the results often seem like they’d be at home on ’70s pop radio.

The album’s tone is consistently one of a comfortable afternoon spent on the porch, almost but not quite melancholy. That effect mostly comes courtesy of Kaback’s clear comfort in putting tunes together—they unfold organically, with plenty of space for the melodies to breathe in. Message of Love features an interesting list of New England talent, including Duke Levine, Kevin Barry, Sean Altman and Valley singer Naia Kete. Kaback, a recent transplant from Philadephia, takes the stage at the Montague Bookmill June 21.

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