Kevin Salem

SXSW records

Phases and Stages

Kevin Salem

Ecstatic (Future Farmer) It's been five years since New Yorker Kevin Salem released any new music. During that time, the former Dumptruck guitarist made and remade what's finally become his third solo album, Ecstatic, while also sharing his myriad musical talents with the likes of Giant Sand, Chocolate Genius, Marc Cohn, Heather Eatman, and others. Labeled in 1994 as one of the best songwriters of the year by Rolling Stone, Salem's taken the life experience accumulated in this later period of his life and turned it into a suite of songs that glimmers in places, roars in others, and lives up to such high praise throughout. From the lazy keyboards that kick off "1000 Smiles," a tune that shrewdly builds to near-anthemic proportions, Salem pours out his soul with a musically eclectic bent and a lyrically poetic eye. While the twisted funk of "Deep Dark Love" and the unsettling and appropriately dusky "End of the Addiction" are a startling and gratifying new direction for Salem, the driving "Magnetic" recalls the fury of his previous work. Guest appearances by Donovan Leitch and Vicki Peterson amplify Salem's accomplishment, while never overshadowing it. Ecstatic is a brilliant undertaking, one that proves Kevin Salem possesses a musical vision that's uncommon and satisfying. (Thursday, March 14, Empanada Parlour, 11pm)

*** .5

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