A Patch of Blue Sky

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Don’t be misled by the title track—this California native’s profound and weathered musings are grounded more in blunt reality than sky-high dreams. The in-demand country songwriter is at his best on poetic lines like Blood runs deep / Souls run deeper (“The Great Emancipation”) or Her salty tears / Her bloodshot eyes / Are raised upon the winter skies / Where high above her angel flies (“New Widow’s Dream”). Kevin uses his dusty voice to name-check everyone from Elvis and Hank Williams to Buddha and Confucius on “Come a Rain.” He also brings several dulcet female voices to accompany him throughout the album—the haunting “Andaman Sea” features a silky side vocal by Eliza Gilkyson, while the soulful, hopeful title track features the fervent, inspired singing of Kevin’s daughter Savannah and her band, The Trishas. Pulsating banjo drives bluesy rockers like “Midnight and Noon” and “Marysville.” Though his songs have been covered by mainstream acts like Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Kevin’s brand of blues-country is distinctively his own. [Release date: June 15]

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