“KB & The Idyllwilde is Katie Burke’s soul rock band based in Nashville, TN. Nasty high octane vocals with gritty riffs, offbeat jokes, add horns.” – The description of KB & The Idyllwilde on the official Facebook page hits the nail square on the head. The vocals are indeed quite nasty, and the riffs gritty (although you could add “fuzzy and warm” to that description), instead of “add horns”, you might want to try “add horns and a fiddle or two”. Not a violin, as that suggests something way more regimented and by-the-book, whereas a fiddle suggests something more earthy and authentic. Either way, it’s one hell of description.
“Soul” is the “go-to” description these days, which means that it’s an often misused description. Sam Smith has “soul”, Lewis Capaldi has “soul”; no, they are just dour and tend to over-sing, that doesn’t mean that they have “soul”. Paul Rodgers, Van Morrison, Jay Buchanan, Beth Hart, Sari Schorr; five names still around today that have “soul”. Katie Burke has more “soul” in her little finger than the entire never-ending line of young males clogging up the airwaves with their insipid, vanilla brand of music. At times her vocals hint that they might go a note too far, but she shows great maturity in resisting the urge and reigns them in. You get the feeling that she has more in the tank if called upon though.
‘I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You’ (to give it it’s full name) might only be five tracks in length, but that simply means that the quality never dips. The guitar work is as full-on and as organic as you are as likely to hear today from an independent band. It’s hard to listen to the opening salvo of ‘Madman’ and ‘Drown’ and not marvel at the fat, fuzzy ‘Icky Thump’ sized licks. Mix in the dazzling solos and in no time at all you’ll be reaching to turn the volume dial skywards.
The most intriguing aspect about ‘I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You’ is that you simply don’t know in which direction it will turn next. Each song throws up multiple changes in direction and the out-of-the-box thinking adds some totally unexpected flourishes; the atmospheric fiddle sound throughout (more cinematic, less Americana, especially on ‘Right Kind Of Sickness’) being just one, the Zeppelin-sized climax to ‘Drown’ being another. The horns on ‘Glories’ come out of the left-field and you get the impression that if Katie Burke performed this song each night for a week, then each performance would be different to the other. The addition of live backing vocals helps raise the song to another level. KB & The Idyllwilde save the best for last though. ‘Heart Faulty’ is a smouldering few minutes that recall Amy Winehouse at her most fragile. The towering, broken-hearted vocals from Burke work perfectly alongside one of the most gorgeous guitar tones heard in a long time. Burke also shows great restraint in never over-reaching, and on this occasion, the fiddle is replaced by a violin.
KB & The Idyllwilde prove that there is way more to Nashville than the Guns, God and Government tropes of Bro-Country, and more power to them.
‘I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You’ is available to stream or download now, find out more information – here.
Review – Dave