George Kinney & the Golden Dawn
Rebel Heart (Montrose)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Aug. 18, 2017
Though not as prominent as International Artists brethren like the 13th Floor Elevators and Bubble Puppy, the Golden Dawn whittled a niche all their own in emergent Texas psychedelia. Listening to 1968's Power Plant in retrospect, you can easily trace South Austin-bred bandleader George Kinney's forward path. Aside from lysergic San Franciscan revelations steeped in the folk and blues traditions that mesmerized UT's small but influential mid-Sixties outcast class, Kinney arrived emboldened by a decidedly take-no-shit ethos that flowered into Seventies Southern rock. On his second album with the reconstituted Dawn, the reliable roadhouse rock riffs of the title track, AM country radio homecoming paeans ("A Thousand Miles to Go"), and U.S. Highway 90 R&B ("No Love in Your Eyes") take primacy over mind-bending. Key distinctions this time around are guitarist James Henry's soaring sustain and Kinney's own ability to string together well-trod aphorisms into barside sermonettes. A spiritual element glistens via the gospel leanings of "Old Colorado" and "Long Time Coming," where Kinney namechecks Socrates and Fourth Way proponent George Gurdjieff before asserting, "You're batshit crazy if you think Jesus acted alone." Flowers or not, the third eye remains open for business on Rebel Heart.