Scott Kempner’s “Saving Grace” is finally out. Maybe I could just leave it at that. Top Ten’s command of the heart and soul that beats within this rock’n’roll shenanigan is pretty much unprecedented. These stories and sounds are beyond the pigeonhole of Americana. He’s soaked up several generations of the gospel and assembled it into a sincere attempt to exorcise the demons that haunt we all.
Fogerty through Dion to Springsteen is a pretty decent route map. If you’re familiar with The Del-Lords, and the good lord knows you oughtta be, then I’d say this is closer to maybe “Lovers Who Wander” than his previous set. This album is better than the recent studio works of any of the three guys I just mentioned. Scott can evoke The Drifters one minute and Creedence the next. Not as an exercise like these people who compose from a hip music collection to garner points. This stuff is in this guy’s blood, he lives and breathes it. When the chips are down, this shit is impossible to fake. “Heartbeat of Time” is a masterpiece of twang, pure and simple.
Released on the Brooklyn-based imprint, 00:02:59 – “Saving Grace” clocks in at just a minute under an hour. It’ll seem like half that. The inherent swing of the rockabilly-laced “Here Come My Love”, the post-Groovies swagger of “Between A Memory And A Dream” and the outright classic pop/soul nous that is “Shadows Of Love” are just 3 reasons to join this party. There are another 10 that shimmer just as bright.
For my tuppence worth, this guy should have been riding the high plains of success several hundred moons ago. For some fucked up reason best known to fate or whatever, it hasn’t happen. Scott Kempner makes the kind of music that most of us thrive on, the stuff that keeps us ticking over.
The Del-Lords back catalogue is about to be reactivated too. More about that in due course.