Twang Rock News: Louisville legend Tim Krekel dies, New Charlie Robison album rocks, U2 gets loud, Ryan Bingham coming to Indy

Though not a name familiar to many music fans in Indianapolis, Tim Krekel is one you should have known about. Krekel died of cancer Wednesday afternoon at his Louisville home.  He was a great roots-rock artist, melodic but crunchy guitar player, and put out some great records. He was 58. 

Louisville Americana music legend Tim Krekel passed away Wednesday
Louisville Americana music legend Tim Krekel passed away Wednesday

A Louisville native, Krekel’s career started in local clubs before he was a teenager and eventually gained him a spot in Jimmy Buffet’s band.

His 1986 album, Over The Fence, with his band The Sluggers, was called by Rolling Stone “roots-based guitar band that matters”. The Louisville Courier-Journal said “Krekel
work(ed) the roots-rock territory with an authority gained from 25 years in the business”.

The Italian record company, Appaloosa Records, released his Out Of The Corner in 1991. It received a four star rating from CD Review, which also touted Tim as “One of American Rock ‘N Roll’s great unknowns.” By 1991, Tim had acquired a dedicated following in the U.S. and in Europe.

He moved back to Louisville in 1993 and started a new band. Tim Krekel & the Groovebillys first release, L&N, became the best-selling record in Louisville–outselling national releases. The band’s next release, 1999’s Underground, hit number one in local sales its first week.

His last full-length record was 2007’s Soul Season.

 Monday night  (6.22.09) U2 began rehearsing for their U2360 World Tour.   They are set up at Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, where they will open the tour on June 30. Among the highlights included “The Unforgettable Fire” played live for the first time since 1990. Absent were songs from the band’s first 3 albums, as well as all of their 1990s albums with the exception of “Ultraviolet”.
Monday’s Set:
Get On Your Boots
Beautiful Day
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Drowning Man
In A Little While
Angel Of Harlem / Suspicious Minds (snippet)
Unknown Caller
The Unforgettable Fire
City Of Blinding Lights
Where The Streets Have No Name
Ultra Violet
With Or Without You
Crazy Tonight
No Line On The Horizon
Moment Of Surrender

Ryan Bingham Coming to Radio Radio
Ryan’s early self-released albums were brought to the attention of Nashville heavyweight Lost Highway Records, who signed Bingham and issued his major-label debut, Mescalito in 2007. Now, Bingham has teamed with that record’s producer, Marc Ford (ex- Black Crowes guitarist), to make 2009’s Roadhouse Sun, and is coming to Indianapolis in July to support the record with a show at Radio Radio.
Indianapolis Songwriters Cafe Presents  Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses w/ special guest Jesse Dayton at Radio Radio on Friday, July 10th @ 9pm

New Charlie Robison Album – “Beautiful Day” – released Tuesday (6.23.09)
Interview excerpt from
“If I give it to someone while I’m driving or something, people that maybe don’t know me real well will go through it and be like, “Man, I would have never, ever thought that you’d be into this stuff.” I consider myself a country artist, I consider myself a rock artist, I consider myself an Americana artist.
Read entire interview here
“I was … I keep going back to influences, but how would you classify him? I think being somewhat unclassifiable is probably the greatest compliment I could get as a musician. So I kind of like that, and I certainly can’t classify myself, because I never know what’s coming out next.” 

Indiana Album Review: Shelby Kelley – “Alone”

I live in Indianapolis.  I love Indiana rock and roll.  Hoosier albums come my way a lot; through stories and review I write  for NUVO, and through unsolicited packages.   To call much of it Mellencamp infused and influenced would be far too simplistic. But much of the really good music from Indiana does contain  “Scarecrow” and “Lonesome Jubilee” echoes, even if only faintly heard. But there is usually some Petty.  It has Seger.  I even hear R.E.M influences in a lot of it.  Oh, and add some country shit too.  Maybe Cheap Trick, but then I think any great rock band that has come of age after 1981 is influenced in some way by Cheap Trick. – it’s one of my idiosyncrasies.  Whatever.  I can’t help it.   I could go on, but the more I think about it, the more I think I may be wrong.  There are those bands, but also weird, sensational, inspired surprises that come from the best Indiana artists, hidden – or not – in their music.

shelbykelley_albumShelby Kelley is probably known best in Indianapolis as a member of Creepin’ Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra, but here steps out on his own for a raw-but-clean solo album.

With the appropriately named “Alone”, Kelley gives us an acoustic guitar-based, Americana album, featuring Kelly’s voice, guitar and occasional harmonica as the only instruments. He strips down the garage rock of his Creepin’ Charley band, and crafts an intimate-yet-rocking solo record that showcases his folk rock side

Standing somewhere between Tom Petty and Robert Earl Keen, the record proves inviting and engaging, though the lyrics, despite some good lines, are always fighting to keep up with Kelley’s terrific rhythm guitar. If you are going to make a record as simple and basic as “Alone”, listeners need both memorable melodies and meaningful lyrics. There is no crash-bam-boom drums or gritty guitar solos to provide rescue. When Kelley’s music and lyrics do connect (“Based on a True Story”, “End of It All”, “Down This Road”), listener patience is rewarded.

“I Know” opens the record in a Petty “Free Fallin’ feel, with lyrics peering, from an outsider viewpoint, into the soul of girl’s lost innocence, while “Down This Road” is a country-tinged rocker, hinting that Kelley may have some Joe Ely cassettes at home. Kelley’s hard strumming rhythm guitar makes the tune one of the best on the album. The sweet harmonica solo in the middle is all the more powerful because of the sparse use of instruments on the record.

“End Of It All ” carries the record into the rough pop-rock hooks and Springsteen themes at which Kelley excels.

Kelley’s channels Pretender-era Jackson Browne on “Wish Upon Wish”, letting his voice become the leader; his California rock sound no more evident than here.

Part of the success of the record comes from the clarity-plus-fullness sound. Recorded without much evident reverb, there’s immediacy to the sound that helps pull a listener’s ears into the album. Recorded at Stable Studios in Spencer, Indiana and engineered by Michael Osborne, the production gives the album a sound much like a Kelley live solo show.

A bit less successful is “Camelot is Burning”. Not as pop-influenced as other songs, and tougher to instantly like, Kelley and Osborne add a bit of processing to the guitar, giving the song a different feel than the rest of the songs on the album. And the breakdown before each chorus effectively builds musical tension and becomes the tunes’ hook. Similar to “Dead End Skies” later it the record, they are two of the album’s songs that take more than one or two listens to find their heart

“Based on a True Story” ends the eight-song album with a powerful flourish. Again into Robert Earl Keen/Todd Snider territory, taking his shot at the story-song “Road Goes on Forever” template, it is one that works well for Kelley.

It’s the consistent energy and in-the-room sound produced from Shelby Kelley’s gut-grabbing three-chord guitar playing that gives “Alone” the needed push. It makes the full-yet-simple guitar and vocals record worthy of a listen for fans of Americana singer-songwriters.