"Sometimes wonderful things sneak up on you. I’ve always enjoyed Kerri Simpson and when her new album hit my desk, I expected to enjoy it. She has a voice that has such depth and power, why wouldn’t you? But, I did not have any hint of how fantastic it would be.
One listen to this album requires repeated listens. Actually, that’s not true, it doesn’t require, it demands. Kerri Simpson has always painted from a broad palette. Rock, blues and gospel have all experienced her touch. There was no hint of the style of the album from the cover, save for the inclusion of a Steve Earle song. Steve Earle, eh? Hmmm. Yup, you guessed it, Kerri Simpson has gone up the country. In the nicest possible sense. Call it alt country, call it country roots, call it what you like, there is no mistaking the deliberate venture into new territory. And it is simply brilliant! I have never heard a voice more obviously suited to the genre.
There is power, there is light and shade, there are tinges of pure emotion and vocal edges that would please Ms Patsy. The songs are natural. They are heartfelt. They are real. They make you want to sing along in harmony. They make you want to cry, in a good way.
This is an album that I am happy to say is simply the best of her best. It is a must have in your collection.”
John Carver - Presenter Across The Tracks (Saturdays 6.00 am - 9.00 am) PBSFM
Kerri Simpson has done it again. After years of putting out consistently excellent blues, rock, gospel and roots tunes she has turned her considerable talents to producing a very fine country (yes, country!) music CD with a band full of cracking musicians dubbed The Prodigal Sons.
Six of the seven songs here were written by Simpson and include everything from heartbroken cracked ballads (Cadillac), dirty country ravers, beautiful heart broken bourbon soaked ballads (No Way Back). There is a superb version of Steve Earle's Sometimes She Forgets that shows off a voice that sounds like it was born to sing country tunes alone, despite the many other music paths Simpson has explored and mastered. I Bin Your Fool is a gem, drenched with violin, mandolin and guitar courtesy of Andy Baylor and some sweet-as backing singers.
The Prodigies are Mark Grunden (drums), Dean Addison (bass), Ron Tabuteau (guitar) and Ben Grayson on keys with special guests Alex Burns, Dave Evans, Jaimi Faulkner, Shannon Bourne, Dai Jones and Andy Baylor. Calling From Memphis is a great little country rocker, infused with a Sun studio vibe, rollicking guitars and percussion with a distinctive southern accent. If you close your eyes it ain't too hard to picture Simpson fronting a band full of Nudie suit clad rockers ala Graham Parsons era on this track - and it's an absolute raver.
The title track closes the album with some good filthy guitar and Simpson's undeniably terrific and utterly unmistakable voice doing the dirty all over the place. Yes, I believe I will have a shot of bourbon and a beer with that one, thanks. This is easily one of the best country music records of the year in any hemisphere and will prove a pleasant surprise to long time fans of Kerri's music.
It was recorded right here in Melbourne at Thirtymill Studios for Mescalito Records, produced by Simpson and published by the Origin Music Group. Who needs Nashville? Visit Kerri Simpson at www.kerrisimpson.com or www.myspace.com/kerrisimpson.
Karen Conrad - BEAT MAGAZINE 2007