March 26, 2009
When you go to concert, you want to hear the star: Bruce Guthro, Matt Minglewood, Rita MacNeil, or whomever. Most people won't give a thought to anyone else onstage, but these singers make music with the help of their band.
If you looked to the left of the stage with all three of these artists, chances are the keyboard player would be Kim Dunn. From the Northside, his ability with any style of music has made him one of the hardest working sidemen in the business.
Kim also has a reputation among his fellow musicians as a talented singer and gifted songwriter and he has put those skills to use with his first solo recording, Take This Hammer. If you're looking for jazz, it's there. If you want some solid blues, that's there as well, along with hints of country. There's some solo singer-songwriter, some ballads, some pop - something for everyone, all done with Kim's skillful crafting and gracefully presented with his wonderfully melodic voice.
The production is top-notch, the voices mixing together as one. And they are one voice as Kim does ALL vocals except for one short chorus on one of the dozen songs. And while he plays a great many instruments, he doesn't leave it all to chance as he surrounds himself with some of the best in the business: Jamie Robinson, Chris Corrigan, Geoff Arsenault, Chris Luedecke, just to name a few.
I really like the opening and closing cuts on this CD. Backroads of Heaven has this wonderful melody with piano and banjo woven together and moving in and out, while Good Night is this quick little children's ditty with a wonderful surprise that just goes on and on with Kim and the rest of the musicians clearly having fun. Perhaps my favourite song is his interpretation of Lennon & McCartney's Blackbird, a new arrangement of a familiar standard.
Take This Hammer likely won't be a CD that will get great chunks of airplay on mainstream radio but Kim Dunn has given us something that will be listened to and enjoyed by his ever-expanding list of fans for years to come.