Tennesse’s Kevin Gordon has been referred to as a “Southern Springsteen,” but you’re also likely to hear shades of Mark Knopfler’s laconic storytelling style and Steve Earle’s wry alt-country delivery in Gordon’s work. He'll be at Toad in Cambridge on Jan. 20.
Tennesse’s Kevin Gordon has been referred to as a “Southern Springsteen,” but you’re also likely to hear shades of Mark Knopfler’s laconic storytelling style and Steve Earle’s wry alt-country delivery in Gordon’s work.
Put his music on in the background and it may sound like standard-issue (albeit accomplished) Southern rock, but listen to the lyrics — at once, poetic, literary, often funny and invariably poignant in their details — and you’ll realize that Gordon is a cut above. It’s like listening to a book of Flannery O’Connor short stories come to life.
February will see the release of Gordon’s fourth album, “Gloryland,” and it has the makings of a masterpiece: filled with rich characters — from the aged son of a quilter (“Pecolia’s Star”) to a middle-aged man whose “collar feels like it’s at the end of a leash” (“Black Dog”).
It’s awash in reminiscences and anecdotes, and it brings his American South to tangible, swampy life. Its centerpiece, “Colfax/Step in Time,” is a 10-minute spoken-sung story song that starts detailing the very recognizable memories of the narrator’s early teenage years and winds up painting a dark portrait of the casual racism that pervaded his childhood. It’s stunning.
Bet you didn’t know …
- Gordon has a master’s degree in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
- HBO’s “True Blood” featured his song “Watching the Sun Go Down.”
- His duet with Lucinda Williams “Down To The Well” has appeared on an Oxford American Music Issue compilation album.