I’m not sure what I expected from this Kim Robins CD, Leave the Porch Light On. I met Kim several years ago at IBMA in Nashville in one of those dozen-people-go-in-for-a-large-suite adventures I was a part of that can be fraught with peril. Well, it had its moments but no peril. We had a big time sharing lots of music.
I have listened to this CD four times. The songs are:
- Johnny Clay
- I’ll Always Be A Gambler
- Bourbon and Beer
- Leave The Porch Light On
- Memories Of An Angel
- Seven Devils Ridge
- You’re In The Lord’s Hands Now
- I’m Not To Blame
- Can’t Be Anything But Love
- Wind In The Valley
- I Won’t Have A Prayer
There’s some powerfully good songwriting here, including two with credit for Robins, of which two may be my favorites on the CD. Five of the songs on this CD feature Robins’ guests Kyle Estep and Clay Hess on lead vocals, with Robins lending harmonies. She assembled a great band, with me very much enjoying the guitar work of Hess and Estep and the great fiddling of Tim Crouch.
Robins has a clear vocal delivery, moving from power to finesse with ease, as it suits her. My favorite songs are Bourbon and Beer, Leave the Porch Light On, Seven Devils Ridge, Hurricane (picked by the label as the lead single), the country ballad I’m Not to Blame, with its mid-chorus salute to Hank Wiliams, and I Won’t Have a Prayer.
Bourbon and Beer is my favorite of all. It is a dark, dark song about a man’s battle with alcohol and the effects on those who love him, a poignant telling of a sad story with which many will identify. The line “…cause when a man loves liquor, the liquor always wins…” is dark and as good a line as a songwriter can hope for. I’m not to Blame is a heart-render. The song’s protagonist is hurt, heart hurt, and expresses her pain, making us hurt along with her. Kim delivers her pain. Salute, Kim Robins.
Releasing a CD with other artists covering the lead vocals on five of the thirteen songs makes me wonder who was thinking what. Robins was perfectly capable of doing the entire CD. This is not billed as a various artists CD, though it does admit to “and Special Guests.” The “Special Guests” did a fine job, worthy of their CD, I think, but I feel sort of short-changed. Robins doing seven songs out of thirteen is 53.8%, Kim Robins. I reckon I was expecting a hundred percent.
That is not to say there is anything unlikeable on Leave The Porch Light On. I enjoyed every song, the band, the recording, and Robins’ clear, emotive voice.
I want to hear more.