Don’t try to pigeonhole the music of Craig Kinsey. After all, Kinsey once lived as an ascetic monk in the Ozark Mountains and cites influences as varied as Mozart, Charlie Chaplin, AC/DC, Tom Waits, Bill Monroe and Lighting Sam Hopkins. Given all that, what makes you think it would be easy to classify the tunes on “American Roots and Machines”?
“When I entered (the monastery), I thought I would be there for the rest of my life,” Kinsey says. “Even today, I’m still part of the monastery. Musicianship is a doorway to following the path of to a higher calling. That world and the world of my stage show, to me, are one and the same thing. They both come from the same ecstatic root, deep within the human psyche.”
Kinsey earned his stripes in medicine show-ish outfit Sideshow Tramps but really comes into his own as a solo performer on this 11-track gem. From rollicking opener “Dissatisfied” to 14-minute opus “Gettyburg,” Kinsey impresses at every turn.
Additional standouts include “Puccini’s Drunk Again,” “I’m Not Part of a Scene,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Say, Jesus (A Homeless Man Talks to Jesus)” and “Credits.” Good stuff. (Jeffrey Sisk)