I first came across Will Kimbrough back in the 1980’s when he was the leader of a popular southeastern college bar band, Will & the Bushmen; somewhere in my collection of 7-inch singles I still have a copy of that band’s best song, “500 Miles.” Fast forward about ten years and he surfaces again, this time as a sideman at a Todd Snider show. Kimbrough would play and record with Snider for several years, and he has served similar roles for Rodney Crowell and others.
Kimbrough the solo artist is an occasional thing, so when a new album such as Wings shows up it’s worth taking a listen. This time around the songs are mellower and more acoustic, with a family-and-friends feel to many of the stories being told. Here’s a Kimbrough-produced promo video preview of the album:
“Wings”, the title song, gives us Kimbrough’s version of one of his songs that Jimmy Buffett recorded on Buffett Hotel, and even non-Parrotheads will enjoy this bouncy take.
“Love to Spare” is the emotional and musical centerpiece, with a sparse arrangement spotlighting some gorgeous slide guitar and simple, understated percussion. The lyrics are a simple yet effective meditation reminiscent of the more affecting John Hiatt ballads:
“don’t push me away I need you
I won’t break your heart or bleed you
time goes by but time wont change it
space between wont rearrange it”
“Three Angels” is the most family-specific tune here, given its focus on his wife and two daughters (the three angels of the song title). Here’s a sweet video of the song:
Kimbrough sounds nothing if not comfortable with himself throughout the album, and he’s done enough different stuff in his career that he ought to know what he likes to do when it’s his name on the album jacket.