Once upon a time, Kasey wrote for ninebullets. During that time I wrote a piece about his album Nowhere Nights and I tried to make it a comical piece. Truth is, I wasn’t sure how to review that album and not come off as shilling for the guy who writes for the web site, and as a result I did the album a discredit. Well that’s no longer an issue. Kasey stopped writing for 9B a year or so ago for reasons still unknown to me. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m far from bitter. Truth is, the dude’s writing gave me an inferiority complex sometimes. So, it is without that hanging over my head that I mention Kasey’s new album, Heart of a Dog, to you guys.
When we last saw Kasey it was on the heels of his album Nowhere Nights, a stripped down and melancholy affair that served as a musical goodbye letter to Kasey’s hometown of Bellingham, Washington. Heart of a Dog finds Kasey in a more jovial party mood and with a bona fide rock and roll band in the form of The Honkies, who make their presence immediately felt on the opening track, “The Wrong Light.” Kasey and Co’s goal wasn’t to make a perfect record, so much as it was to make an organic rock and roll record, but I’ll let Kasey explain it, “I wanted to make a rock ‘n’ roll record with my friends. I wanted to write ten good songs, put everyone in a room, and roll tape. So that’s what we did. We played a song until we got a take we liked, then we moved on to the next; didn’t usually take too long.” This is interesting for me, coming off of listening to Keith Richards’ autobiography, ‘cause that’s basically how he explains recording a rock and roll record. You can have all the technological whizbangs you want but if you ain’t got that sound, that feeling, you ain’t gonna have a good rock and roll record. Heart of a Dog does capture that sound and (save for a few missteps) fun.
Heart of a Dog is recommended for those out there who like their lyrics smart and their rock mixed with plenty of blues, topped with some throwback. Essential Listening listening in a year that’s shaping up to be a musical goldmine.