Sunday, August 09, 2015

EP Review: 'Kindred Spirit' by Rocky Votolato & Chuck Ragan

Title: Kindred Spirit (SideOneDummy Records, BandCamp [SideOneDummy], Amazon, iTunes, Interpunk)
Artists: Rocky Votolato (Official, Facebook, Twitter, BandCamp, Wikipedia); Chuck Ragan (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wikipedia)

Kindred Spirit opens with three songs from Rocky Votolato, the first being the somber and stoic “Sparks of Recovery.” Votolato has a way with words and storytelling through lyrics that combined with his weighty and melancholy and dark, brooding, and tempered alt country result in songs that are powerful and mystic while touching and heartfelt. This is my first introduction to Votolato's work. I'd heard of him for years but had never gotten around to listening to his music. That will certainly be remedied soon.

Chuck Ragan's half of the EP is exactly what one would expect from the singer/songwriter. Ragan posses a very special voice driven by his earnest, passionate, and poetically ardent lyrics and gravelly rasp. The three songs included here sound like they would have fit perfectly on (and probably came from the recording session of) Ragan's 2014 full-length Til Midnight. In fact the song “Vagabond” is a re-recording from said record, this time with Ben Nicholas, Jon Snodgrass, and Chad Price joining in on vocals, with each taking a verse for themselves, resulting in making an already great song that much better.

Overall Kindred Spirit is a great EP that feels like a complete package and not a collection of extra songs from two prolific songwriters. For those unfamiliar with either Ragan or Votolato's work, this is as good a place as any to make your introductions.

For those in the Oklahoma City metro area, Rocky Votolato will be playing with Dave Hause and Chris Farren at The Opolis on Tuesday August 11, 2015. Needless to say, I already have my ticket.  


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