Outlaw Country Never Sounded So Good

A Review of KANE's Debut CD

ow, they are good! Those were the exact words I said after I listened to KANE, the self-titled debut CD of the band formed by Christian Kane and Steve Carlson. To many Angel fans, lead vocalist Kane is best known as devious lawyer Lindsey McDonald, rising star of the evil law firm, Wolfram & Hart, although the singer/actor is much more comfortable in a pair of earth-worn denims and a cowboy hat then he is in a three-piece designer suit. Now mind you, I'm not a big country/western fan, but I found myself beating my thumb and tapping my foot in time with the music. It's not hard to see why Kane and Carlson's-both accomplished guitarists and songwriters-unique blend of rock, country, and ballad more commonly referred to as "outlaw country" has caught on in many circles in Southern California. In fact, KANE has been voted one of LA's 100 Hottest Unsigned Bands by Music Connection, a music industry magazine.

Steve Carlson and Christian Kane fire it up on stage!

Kane and Carlson are joined by Craig Eastman, well-known fiddle player, whose remarkable chops on the fiddle are featured heavily in "Crazy in Love", reminiscent of early Pure Prairie League, and their closing track, "Oklahoma State of Mind," with its fast-paced, kick-ass tempo. Eastman wears other hats in the band as well, playing the mandolin, lap steel, and organ. Will MacGregor, whom Kane praises as "the best bass player in LA" adds his unique talents to KANE on bass guitar. While Mike Eaton stands strong as lead guitarist, Carlson keeps things steady on rhythm guitar. In addition, Carlson and Eaton, along with Teresa James (an inspiring feminine touch on "Don't Come Home"), provide the backing vocals.

The band's guitar riffs have a very Eric Clapton Unplugged feel to them. KANE's "Sweet Carolina Rain" and "The Chase" are reminiscent of the great Clapton and the legendary BB King collaborations from early 2001 in terms of rhythm. Lyrical construction shows a blend of meticulousness and realization as instrumentally and production-wise it proficiently sets the tone from one track to the next as in "Spirit Boy," an inspirational outlaw saga about a Native American's lost love and "One More Shot" with its theme of irreconcilable heartache.

Christian Kane, the ultimate Spirit Boy

Kane's rich, gravelly tenor voice is a perfect fit for the songs on this CD, which kicks off with "Sweet Carolina Rain" featuring its delightful mandolin interlude, and the adrenaline raising "Rattlesnake Smile," whose hard-driven beat and lyrics can really pump up a crowd. In fact, Kane, with his rugged looks and captivating stage presence, has been known for giving a high-energy performance during a concert. The pace shifts gears as the somber and bluesy "Don't Come Home" follows with soulful and heartfelt lyrics, an internal theme with its emotional reflections of love and longing. The bands approach to songwriting is genuine and unique and continues throughout the CD.

All in all, KANE's debut CD is very well done. The band recently went to Nashville to hone their songwriting abilities, catching the eye of a few high-level music industry executives in the process. As their music catches on, I wouldn't be surprised if the band crosses musical genres from country to pop like some of their peers in the industry, such as Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill. KANE proves you don't have to have a major label to set your mark and surpass it. A worthy CD to add to your collection.

I give it . . .

Written by CoA Staff Editorialist, Kurt Anthony Krug

Click here to purchase This CD.

Visit KANE on their Official Web-site at: www.KaneMusic.com

All photos taken Exclusively by CoA during KANE's Viper Room performance July, 2001 (used by permission only)

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