There are lots of words you can use to describe Will Kimbrough: singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, award winner, and on and on. But if you asked Will, I’d bet that husband and father would beat those out hands down. On Wings, his fifth solo record, his relationship with his family and with himself form the core for many of the ten songs, none more so than the opening track, “Three Angels,” a love song to his wife and two daughters (“Everybody has an angel, I’ve got three.”).
DADDY bandmate Tommy Womack’s 2007 CD There…I Said It! was also a journal about what it means to be a grownup, although their visions differ. (Of course, that disparity between the two is what makes their band so special.) Where Tommy fought and scratched his way to adulthood, Will seems to embrace it warmly. Wings is an album of love and contentment, with an uplifting warmth that permeates each song.
But it wasn’t that long ago that Will was also railing at the world around him. On 2006’s Americanitis, Kimbrough was a rock, a smooth one for sure, but one that skipped across the water with force, kicking up spray as it hurled itself against a raging torrent. Now, on Wings, he is that same rock, only this time, it is sitting in the middle of the stream, enjoying the feel of the rushing water as it flows on by. Same rock. Different speed.
Kimbrough’s folksy Americana sound is spiced with pop and Memphis R&B, seasoned with his own banjo, mandolin, guitars and keys and gets plenty of help from Paul Griffith (DADDY) on drums, Tim Marks (Taylor Swift) on bass and Pat Buchanan on guitar. The title track, co-written with Jimmy Buffett, is one of my favorite songs so far in 2010. (The song also appears on Jimmy’s newest, Buffet Hotel, which features Kimbrough’s songs and guitars.) With Wings, Will Kimbrough has crafted a record for grownups that doesn’t make you feel old.
Playgrounds Magazine March 2010