Like U2 Dave Mathews Alt country roots rock. Kevin, Texas brand from Chicago music Kevin O'Brien Flickering Moment By Ellen Stenard Kevin O'Brien makes music that sounds like the city he lives in. His gritty, story-telling songs evoke the ruggedness of Chicago's Southside juxtaposed with the industriousness of the loop. Even when he sings of his home state of Texas, the country twang keeps an urban edge that feels more at home in the Midwest than just north of the Mexican border. He sings with the earnestness of Bruce Springsteen combined with Elvis Costello's floating song structures and the rough but honest wailing vocal style of late Replacements era Paul Westerberg. O'Brien's backing musicians on this album are of the highest caliber. Paul D. Carestia's steel guitar almost steals the show every time he contributes to a song. It is a difficult instrument to add to the mix without completely altering the mood of an album. Carestia manages to pick out simple enough melodies to keep from sending the songs he plays on out of the realm of rock and roll. Like the Midwest itself, there is a hint of dusty country and rolling farmlands throughout the Flickering Moment album, but it never fully departs from it's cosmopolitan center. Former Bad Examples frontman Ralph Covert aided in the early stages of the album's production, drawing on the talents of his old band mates and some of the cities' finest rock musicians including Smashing Pumpkins drummer Matt Walker. Eric Case did an excellent job of juggling guitar and production duties, seamlessly blending the musical skills of this large talent pool. Flickering Moment centers on memories and stories. There is a pain in O'Brien's lyrics and vocal timbre. He sings as though he has reached a stage of comfort, or at least familiarity, with his sorrow. He is reflective. He is nostalgic without fantasy, without dishonesty. Even when his voice cracks a little bit, or begins to struggle, it sounds less like a weakness of his musical skills and more of a testimony to the pure honesty in which he approaches his craft.
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