Kevin Welch and The Danes - Millionaire

Kevin Welch and the Danes

(Dead Reckoning)

First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2002, Volume 9, #11

Written by John Metzger


On his latest release Millionaire, Kevin Welch comes into his own as a performer. He long has been considered a terrific songwriter, having penned tunes for many of Nashville’s stars, including Waylon Jennings, Ricky Skaggs, The Highwaymen, and Trisha Yearwood. Welch’s own albums, however, have been less than stellar affairs, often sounding rather generic and one-dimensional.

For Millionaire, his fifth outing, Welch teams up with a Copenhagen-based band named The Danes, and the choice certainly was a good one. Indeed, the album is a huge step forward for Welch’s recording career as he and his backing band bring the songs to life by injecting a bit of alt-country angst into his typical folk-rock tunes. The group gives Witness a dark and ominous ambience; it latches onto a crunchy, punchy, punk-blues motif for Choose to Believe; and on When the Sun Shines Down on Me, it explores the space between Lyle Lovett and John Prine.

Oddly enough, however, given Welch’s talent as a songwriter, it’s the two cover tunes on Millionaire that warrant the most attention. On John Hadley’s Long Cold Train, he growls out the lyrics as The Danes follows a steamy, slow-burn groove down the tune’s steady rhythmic track. On Van Morrison’s Queen of the Slipstream, Welch masterfully taps into the cut's gorgeous Memphis soul.

There’s no question that on Millionaire Welch makes his boldest statement to date, while covering a whole lot of new territory. As a result, he finally lives up to the hype about him that has been coming out of Nashville for the past few years. Welch has long had his supporters, but Millionaire should broaden his horizons tremendously. starstarstar ½

Millionaire is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2002 The Music Box