Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers – self-titled album (2005)

02Feb11

My favorite band, and my favorite of their albums. One listen to this record is not going to turn SK6ers into your favorite band too, but with a little encouragement I think that it could. This is where I started as a fan, after hearing ‘Anthem of Our Discovery’ on the radio a few times and frantically googling the lyrics (it was 2005…no Shazam yet). What I found was a band that was prepared to welcome indie rock junkies like me into its fan base…this record was not their first time around the block, but it was their best trip to date. Kellogg himself had been writing and recording music since the late 90s, and both his band and catalogue grew in number and quality over the next decade. Some of these tracks had been recorded on earlier independent albums, but after a little spit-and-polish they were repackaged and added into the mix along with several new songs for this release. The 2005 version of SK6ers quickly made their way into my iPod, and very soon I was a hardcore fan!

Kellogg generally relies on his personal experiences in life and relationships to write the lyrics for him, and the sweet opening track ‘Flower in Rain’ stays true to that rule. It doesn’t take an Enigma Machine to decipher this story of chasing his dream girl, and I think you’ll find the honest and straightforward lyrics to be a relaxing change of pace from the overdone lyrical imagery you generally get from guys like Coldplay or the Killers. And while we’re on this subject, take a listen to the kick-ass love song ‘Such a Way’ and its simple story. But SK knows how to be vague too, and lets you form your own interpretation on cuts like ‘You’ve Changed’ and my personal favorite ’My Sweet Charade’. Those tracks offer some less straightforward lyrics, for you artsy fartsy types who want to hear him wax poetic. And speaking of poetry, if you’re willing to let a little bit of nursery rhyme into your life, download the classic ‘See You Later, See You Soon’. Looking for background music for a tailgate party? Get ‘Start the Day Early’ and locate the closest moonshine manufacturer. You really can’t go wrong with any track on this album, especially if you’re willing to invest the time to listen to the stories being told.

As you know by now, a large part of what forms my opinion of a band is their live act. I’ve seen these guys quite a few times and they always deliver a fun time! The most notable shows that I attended occurred at the 9:30 Club in DC, and a solo gig by Kellogg at a Pat McGee show in Outer Banks. The 9:30 concert was one that the band often refers to as “the greatest night of our lives” (which hilariously happened to coincide with one of the most stressful nights of my life) because it signified their arrival at a big-time venue in a big-time city in front of a sold out crowd singing along to every word. A truly memorable show, closed out with a cover of ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ FTW! At the Outer Banks concert, my girlfriend and I got to spend a good amount of time chatting with SK, which really validated our interest in his career. It’s not like the guy is Gandhi or a decorated war hero, but it’s just nice to find out for yourself that the people on the other side of the microphone aren’t bullshitting you, and their songs are coming from a genuine place. Bands like SK6ers create a confusing quandary for the music turtle…I generally do my best to avoid the role of stalker/fanboy but they have repeatedly made themselves available to the fans after shows despite the several hour workout they just completed on stage. Sometimes you gotta root for the good guys, and SK6ers fill that role nicely. Check out this album, but more importantly go to www.sk6ers.com to check their tour schedule!

music turtle recommends: BUY IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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