Photo by CJ Hicks
Written by Bill Whiting – [email protected]
Will Kimbrough’s April 17 appearance at Newport, Kentucky’s Southgate House was his first in three years, and the respected songwriter took no time in getting down to business. Starting the performance with Rodney Crowell and Jimmy Buffett’s favorite Kimbrough tune, “Piece of Work,” the lead singer and guitarist was in rare form, firing off leads and phrases with razor sharp intensity. Introducing the title track from his latest album, Wings, Kimbrough gently glided through the pensive number, guiding the audience’s attention toward the meaning buried inside the introspective lyrics. “Three Angels” was a marvel of wordplay and carefully constructed musical passages. “Big Big Love” was a favorite of the patrons on the floor, and they swayed while humming the lyrics aloud. Kimbrough’s consistent pacing made the concert a refreshing experience, and his delivery of top notch compositions like the reflective “The Day of the Troubador” was persuasive and intelligently heartfelt. Kimbrough’s lead guitar playing remains unmatched. As a hired gun for contemporaries like Crowell and Todd Snider, he has developed a keen sense of timing, often reinventing solos on the spot. His gig at the venerable Southgate House was a showcase of dominating guitar skills and mature song craft as evidenced by his first encore, the response ready “Grown Up Now” from 2006’s acclaimed disc, Americanitis. Whether it was the catchy hook filled acoustic number from Wings, “A Couple Hundred Miracles,” or the evening’s closer, “Love to Spare,” Will Kimbrough had ideas that everyone inside the Southgate House could relate to. Hopefully, it won’t take another three years until we connect in person to the magically moving artist that Will Kimbrough is.