Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chris Kirby Checks Into The Vampire Hotel

Canadian musician Chris Kirby recently released his Gordie Johnson produced sophomore effort, Vampire Hotel. When I first looked at the CD, I thought, oh, no way in hell I'm going to like this. But, I popped it into the player to give it a listen. Always listen folks. I have been pleasantly surprised more than once in my lifetime by something I just knew I'd hate.

My thoughts after my first listen. It started off well enough but somewhere along the line it all went awry. What starts as a harmless revved up Michael Bolton/Chicago hybrid type of disc ends up sounding like someone dared the cabaret singing guy at the local piano bar to bust out some R&B. What? Was that mean? I'm just saying, if the guy started bustin' out show tunes, he'd probably sound right at home. I know y'all are thinking the mild mannered QNYC must be recovering from some summertime, outdoorsy, heat induced, brain damage or something of the sort to go there like that. That being said, I've never seen him live but I have a feeling he's probably a very energetic performer that probably puts on an entertaining show. You never know. Hey, my mind is still boggled at the fact that I found a Tony Bennett show to be entertaining!

Did I digress? Anyway, after a second listen, I decided that Vampire Hotel isn't a horrible record, it's just not my thing. Kirby sings on-key with a decent enough voice, even tilting in the direction of blue-eyed soul. And, the music and songwriting are decent enough too. Aspirations I think are bigger than the label that was slapped on this effort though. Who labeled it R&B/soul anyway? Let us just call it pop. I can swallow that label and appreciate the record more under the pop label. The two tunes that stand out for me are "Fool No More" which seems to be aiming for a Stevie Wonder vibe and "Don't Forget About Me" with it's feel good music.

For my tastes, as an R&B record, it misses. As an AM radio, adult contemporary, pop staple, it's a thumbs up.

Check him out for yourself. Have a listen to "Don't Forget About Me" from the album Vampire Hotel.

Track Listing
  • Day Job
  • Come Clean
  • Lift This Fog
  • Don't Forget About Me
  • Heavy Rain
  • See you Again
  • Fool No More
  • Princess
  • Entertainer Of The Year
  • Identity Crisis
  • Golden Year
  • Vampire Hotel