by Brian Rill
Kevin Danzig – Playground
2104 Bandanzig Music, Alma CO 2014
Alma resident Kevin Danzig just released his ninth solo album, Playground. It is a multi-instrumental and polyphonic collection including two dozen fully produced acoustic demo songs engineered in Leadville, Colorado by Grammy nominee Tim Stroth. Kevin Danzig is himself a six-time Billboard Magazine award winner, and in his newest album, he serves a rather eclectic blend of acoustic indie folk ballads reminiscent of Michael Penn alongside some honky-tonk pop songs in the style of Jimmy Buffet.
Vocalist Faith Crawford is featured on the hillbilly pop anthem Hey Dean and also graces the title track Playground, featuring a playful duet with Danzig on the glockenspiel. Also notable are A Case Of Karma, In Your Imagination and Emotional Roller Coaster, all which poignantly describe tumultuous relationships from a perspective of loneliness that can only come through experiencing them firsthand.
Like many solo artists’ compilations, there is a feeling of being bogged down at first by musky breakup songs; however, there are also many jewels to be discovered on the B-side.
In track eight, Time Marches On, Danzig begins to lull the listener with his rich imagination, which is palpable in the verse. Showing an unorthodox approach to the arrangement, he employs an offbeat melody which becomes hauntingly catchy.
The ninth track is a thoughtful ode written to honor his “sweet guitar.” Kevin Danzig’s son, Eamon Danzig, brings a Led Zeppelin-inspired bridge section to this recording, showcasing a heavier style of playing.
In the final cut, Thoughts of Yesterday, with only a single guitar and vocal, Danzig uses his full palette of colors to reveal he has the experience necessary to paint a much larger musical landscape, reflecting influences of John Lennon and George Harrison.
From start to finish, Playground is a rich and carefully crafted album. It may seem purely sentimental at first, but in the end the innovative songwriting and edgy lyrics will inspire you. Kevin Danzig is a songwriter who deserves a second listen. Should you trade in your only ounce of silver for this CD? It is worth considering.
Brian Rill is a troubadour, composer and poet.