Tune In To Mind Radio

Various Artists

Surgeland, 2012

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/30/2012

The subtitle to this ill-conceived project is A Tribute to Multi-Talented Vocalist Kelly Keeling, which should tell you a lot about it. That, and it features a whole six songs.

First, if you have to describe the person receiving the tribute as “multi-talented,” that already assumes the listener doesn’t know who that person is, or else they would already know he/she was talented. Second, if this person only warrants six songs (five covers and one original), that proves musicians weren’t exactly lining up to cover the guy’s music. Third, why pay tribute to someone that very few people know anyway, unless that person is/was very influential in some faceless way?

Kelly Keeling was the lead singer for a short-lived, third-string ’80s hair metal band called Blue Murder. The band was founded by a record label and also featured a former Whitesnake guitarist and two studio musicians (including Carmine Appice, who played with Jeff Beck way back in the early ’70s). Following that, Keeling did more vocal studio work with outfits like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Yngwie Malmsteen and Heaven and Earth; he released a solo disc in 2005 as well.

Keeling is very much alive, yet not very well known, so a tribute seems disingenuous, especially one with no consistency. The songs vary from standard ’90s alt-rock (“Perfect Day,”) to ’80s hair metal (“Rising of the Snake”, “Free,” “Hombre Salvaje”) to a random yet nice piano solo (“Morning Song”), with only the instrumental “In And Out Of Time” a true highlight, featuring some solid slabs of guitar crunch. Part of the reason for this is that Keeling also is a songwriter, so the focus is more on the songs he has written, not necessarily sung.

The songs are fine, if unmemorable, and the playing is the work of veterans and studio pros, so everything sounds just fine. Surely Keeling will enjoy this, just as those who have worked with him probably enjoyed putting this together, but the whole exercise feels unnecessary.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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