Artist:  Kalob Griffin Band

Album:  June Found a Gun

Additional Details:  Come party with the TSI team at the Album’s release party TOMORROW NIGHT, June 1st, at  World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Grab your tickets here.  Doors open at 7PM, show starts at 8PM.  Come out and say hi!  Also, check out the band in studio as they created June Found a Gun:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRYSoFnENVs&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

I remember way back in February watching the Kalob Griffin Band perform at our very own Tri-State Indie Awards show at the World Café in Philadelphia.  I remember getting out of my seat in order to dance when those upbeat songs graced my soul.  I remember running home and immediately purchasing their self-titled EP.  They won the “Best Philadelphia Artist” category that night and I remember thinking that they really, REALLY deserved it.

When I sat down to write this review, I couldn’t find the correct sequences of words to describe what’s going on in their debut LP June Found a Gun.  The ominous title of the album is misleading because this one’s a booze-soaked jubilee of noise, not a violent tour de force.  Each song is a new journey into love, dreams, alcohol, heartbreak, and longing.  This album is, above all else, fun.  Just like their live shows, it’s pretty hard not to dance when these songs come on.  One especially joyous romp, “South” is basically a love letter to the southern states.  With lyrics like “I’ll be back one day/in your arms someday/Oh Georgia you’ll always be mine,” the KGB really bring the Americana charm time and time again.  June Found a Gun is an album that the listener can become immersed in.  You put it on and get lost in the world that it creates. It’s a world that at each turn has something equally reminiscent and festive to discover; much like “South,”  which is a song that celebrates the nostalgia of travels across the southern American states.

The album’s standout “Winter Blues,” a beaty folk-rock jam really lets the listener know what the album’s all about.  It’s so appropriate that an album coming out in late May would feature lyrics like “We pray for Spring/When those winter blues begin.”  Anyone who’s lived through a Pennsylvania winter can attest to the truth to these lines.  I like how the lyrical imagery of the song matches the music.  Guitars, keys, banjo and a walkin’ bass line create a sensation that will undoubtedly inspire many to sing full force with their hand out of the window crusin’ on a sunny day.  It’s summer music.  All of it.  It’s that stuff you put on at a barbeque.  Those songs that make you reminisce about long June sunsets.  It’s the music that you crack open a brew and relax to.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKIgg_bqHxE[/youtube]

The glue that holds these songs together is Kalob Griffin’s voice.  It’s one destined to make music like this.  Whether he’s accompanied by multiple-part harmonies, or taking on a solo performance, the throaty, strained quality of his earthy voice makes the songs exemplify exactly what it means to make Americana music.  You really notice when a Kalob Griffin Band song comes on.  He’s not afraid to be loud, powerful and booming, which is a quality that distinguishes folk tunes from other types of music.  Each song seems to attempt to outdo the last one as in terms of grace, power and (as mentioned earlier) fun.

But this album isn’t without a hometown shout-out either.  “IPA,” a narrative of  the shenanigans that happen in different states that the KGB has been to is a fast paced rock song.  But a few times the song does a half-time breakdown with the lyrics “Western Pennsylvania/Is where I was born and raised.”  When these lyrics come, they sound especially triumphant when compared to the rest of the song.  So while the messages of the album can be at times wandering (both geographically and thematically), “IPA” relocates June Found a Gun  in terms of how the KGB can venture out into the world of folk-rock while maintaining a firm grip on how much they love their hometown.  It also allows the band acknowledge the influence of their hometown.  Philly might not be known especially for this folk music (except for Dr. Dog, perhaps), but  the Kalob Griffin Band certainly creates a well-developed Americana album with June Found a Gun.

If you can’t make it out to the release show tomorrow night, fans can sample a couple songs and snag there own copy of the new album after its release HERE!

The last thing I remember when the KGB played the Tri State Indie awards is that the entire time on stage, Kalob Griffin, Rob Dwyer, Eric Lawry, Nick Salcido, and John Hildenbrand were all smiling.  June Found a Gun is one of those albums that will leave you smiling, too.

Words/Review by: Matt Latessa