Kevin Gordon
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Kevin Gordon

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"GRAMMY: Irma Thomas & Kevin Gordon"

Two Nashville writers a part of Irma Thomas’ Grammy-winner
by Peter Cooper, The Tennessean

Kevin Gordon and Gwil Owen wrote “Flowers,” which was included on Irma Thomas’ “After The Rain” album, which won a Grammy tonight for best contemporary blues album.

Gwil is a former Oscar nominee (for co-writing “A Soft Place To Fall” with Allison Moorer) and Gordon is one of Nashville’s greatest underground musical poets.

(FULL LISTING For Grammy Category)
66. Contemporary Blues Album:
"Live From Across the Pond," Robert Cray Band;
"Sippiana Hericane," Dr. John and the Lower 911;
"Suitcase," Keb' Mo';
"Hope and Desire," Susan Tedeschi;
> "After the Rain," Irma Thomas.

- The Tennessean

"NASHVILLE UNDERGROUND-Playboy Magazine, Sept. 2006"

September 2006

NASHVILLE UNDERGROUND The most interesting stuff coming out of the Music City today doesn‚t have much to do with big hats or pedal steel. As a bastion of the music industry, Nashville is home to an army of songwriters and session players, and most of these hired guns pursue their own work - daring, smart and soulful - when their day jobs are over. More than a few of these moonlighters deserve wider recognition. Chris Knight, who arrived in Nashville a few years back with a great batch of bleak songs, returns with Enough Rope (Emergent/92e), on which a newfound maturity accompanies his Kentucky drawl. Songwriter Mary Selby has enjoyed success with the pen, but now And The Horse He Rode In On (Mark Selby) shows his chops, as he plays and sings hits he wrote for the Dixie Chicks and Kenny Wayne Shepard. Jeff Black's Tin Lily (Dualtone) is an impressively hard-nosed collection of tough, powerful songs. KEVIN GORDON'S O COME LOOK AT THE BURNING (CROWVILLE COLLECTIVE) MAY BE THE LEAST CLASSIFIABLE OF THE LOT BUT PERHAPS THE BEST, WITH A STRANGE ASSORTMENT OF SWAMP ROCK, BLUES, AND LITERATE LYRICS.

- Playboy Magazine, Sept. 2006

""one of the most perfect American road-trip albums""

Thursday, January 24, 2008

record REWIND

great albums revisited


Kevin Gordon


Tracks/time: 12/45 minutes, 19 seconds.

Sounds like: Chuck Berry meeting Bruce Springsteen on a Mississippi riverboat north of Hannibal.

Hits/highlights: "Pauline," "Lucy and Andy Drive to Arkansas," "Dissatisfied," title track, "Evan Pick Up the Line."

By the way: Born and raised in Louisiana, Gordon took in the University of Iowa Poetry Writers' Workshop and teamed with Bo Ramsey before moving to Nashville.

What's so great about it?

Gordon's Poetry Workshop credentials notwithstanding, he clearly brought a whole shipload of bodacious diamonds to the dock before the cutting and polishing ever began.

E-Streeter Garry Tallent produced, John Prine's rhythm section of Dave Jacques and Paul Griffith anchored the beast, and Bo Ramsey, Danny Federici, Kate Campbell and Buddy Miller all pitched in behind the guitars of Gordon and his longtime sidekick Joe McMahan (and Gwil Owen co-writes four cuts), but the key to it all is the detailed, empathic storytelling, effortless hipster lingo and tone-cool phrasing of Gordon himself.

There ain't a runt in this litter -- the songs NOT listed above (all expertly paced) would highlight most records.

One of the most perfect American road-trip albums of the past two decades (at least), this is a heart-stealing, dazzlingly cinematic monster.

-- Jim Musser - Go Iowa

"Live Review, March 2008"

By Jason Weinheimer

The recent death of the alt-country bible “No Depression” is due, in part, to the lack of depth of the genre the rag served to further. So much of alt-country, Americana (or “genericana” as Kevin Kerby calls it) is long on rootsy posturing and short on substance, both musically and lyrically. Rather than encourage creativity and new ideas, the genre tends to celebrate mimicry. Think of how many Steve Earle, Townes Van Zant and Graham Parsons imitations we've suffered in the last 10 years.

But while East Nashville songwriter Kevin Gordon has solid “No Depression” credentials (duet with Lucinda Williams, songs cut by Keith Richards, etc), it does a disservice to his songwriting to lump him in with the rest. Gordon is a true original voice and his last album, “O Come Look at the Burning,” introduced an entirely new vernacular into the Americana language. Loaded with dark themes and driven by a band that rumbles and creeps, it set a very high bar for future Kevin Gordon albums.

On a run to SXSW, Gordon brought his band to White Water to play songs from his back catalog, as well as work out some new material. The stripped back trio created perfect atmospheres for Gordon's songs, filled with images and characters on the margins of the South. Think Larry Brown, if Brown was a songwriter who also earned an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

White Water is notoriously difficult to play quietly. And just about impossible to play solo. The same rowdy crowd that makes the room so fun on a packed night makes it downright miserable for a singer armed with nothing but a guitar against the noise. So when Gordon excused his rhythm section halfway through his set to play a few new songs, I cringed for him. But he did something I've not seen in over 15 years of frequenting White Water. He hushed the late-night audience. And with songs, in varying states of completion, they'd never heard before.
The highlight was a meditation on a singular event from his past — marching in a parade with a junior high band and facing down the KKK — that manages to weave in references to Ted Nugent and KC and Sunshine Band (or was it Kool and the Gang?) and be incredibly funny and poignant.

Gordon plans to begin work on a religious-themed EP and another full length album in the coming months, and if the set at the White Water Tavern is any indication, the new releases will be every bit as compelling as the last. - Arkansas Times, Little Rock

"Burning Love for Blues People" - No Depression, Nov./Dec.2005

"Chicago Reader, Oct. 2005"

Chicago Reader, 10/21/05

KEVIN GORDON Most articles about Nashville singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon hasten to point out that he's a published poet who graduated from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. His songs are free of literary pretense, though: starting with his full-length debut, 1998's Cadillac Jack's #1 Son, he's been writing economical but finely etched narratives and setting them to an earthy mix of backwoods country, big-city blues, and febrile Cajun sounds. For the new O Come Look at the Burning (Crowville Collective), his first album in five years, he captures the power and unvarnished aesthetic of his band's live shows; he and coproducer Joe McMahan decided to track the album live in a converted East Nashville house, even including scratch vocals and studio chatter in the finished songs. It's an aching, baleful record with a pair of superb covers: he arranges a slowed-down, swamped-up take on the Eddie Hinton obscurity "Something Heavy," while his vocal vamps match the band's shambling, almost chaotic playing on Little Walter's blues classic "Crazy Mixed Up World." But it's the ten originals on the album that truly show his mastery of American vernacular music. Singing in a beautifully weathered voice, Gordon navigates the sad-eyed blues of "Watching the Sun Go Down," the storming Springsteen-style roots pop of "24 Diamonds," and the hillbilly lament "Calhoun" with an easy, alchemical grace. --Bob Mehr
- Chicago Reader

"Best of 2008"

Every now and again, someone writes a great song and fellow songwriters curse themselves for not coming up with the same idea. It's the old, "I've had that thought a million times, so why didn't I write it?" syndrome. More rare, though, is the undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person's experience. Kevin Gordon's "Colfax" is that song. It clocks in at well over six minutes. It's ostensibly about a kid in the marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond. It is not yet on an album, and it will not be recorded by some famous country radio star. But we'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than "Colfax" in 2009, when Gordon moves it from stage to CD. (Peter Cooper) - The Tennessean


2012: Gloryland (Crowville)
2010: Salvage & Drift, Vol.1 (Crowville)
2007: Louisiana Snow ( limited-ed. 7" vinyl 45)
2005: o Come Look at the Burning (Crowville Collective)
2000: Down to the Well (Shanachie)
1998: Cadillac Jack's #1 Son (Shanachie)
1997: Illinois 5 a.m.(e.p.) (Motherlode)
1993: Carnival Time (Real Groovy(New Zealand)



Over the course of twenty years of writing, recording and touring, Kevin Gordon has built an impressively consistent catalog of songs, a critically-acclaimed stack of albums, and a reputation for dynamic live performances that make first-time listeners life-long fans. He is currently completing his next full-length album, to be released later this year. Among the new material is a 7-minute piece titled “Colfax”. The song has already generated some great press:

"Every now and then, someone writes a great song and fellow songwriters curse themselves or not coming up with the same idea . . . . More rare, though, is the undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person’s experience. Kevin Gordon’s ‘Colfax’ is that song. It clocks in at well over six minutes. It’s ostensibly about a kid in a marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond. It is not yet on an album, and it will not be recorded by some famous country radio star. But we'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than ‘Colfax’ . . . when Gordon moves it from stage to CD."
--Peter Cooper, The Tennessean

Gordon talks about “Colfax”: “It’s based on an experience from junior high. This song, like others on the new record, draw from my memories of growing up in the land of strangeness that is northern Louisiana, during a time when this very provincial place was going thru post-civil-rights-movement growing pains with plenty of resistance from what was then a very powerful ‘old guard’. The song touches on a lot of different things, but ends up a celebration of the stoic heroism and determination of our band director.”

Other songs recorded for the new release include “Side of the Road”, a montage of film-like images and characters spanning from childhood memory to the Iraq war, and “Pecolia’s Star”, based on the life of African-American quilter Pecolia Warner, and inspired by a chapter in Local Color, a book on Mississippi folk artists by Dr. William Ferris.

A north Louisiana native, Gordon grew up hearing music that shares the same raw emotion and spontaneity that he now puts into his own. “My folks would have people over on the weekends, and I remember hearing a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis . . . a live record on Smash, I think; and Ray Charles. Green daquiris in the blender, wet glass rings on the console, ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘What’d I Say’. That music—it hit me hard. I loved it so much—that’s what drove me to want to sing, play, and write. “ A variety of musical pursuits followed: punk, rockabilly, blues, and now a Nashville-based career as a recording artist and songwriter.

Gordon’s songs have been recorded by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Levon Helm of The Band, Ronnie Hawkins, Kate Campbell, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, and others. The title track from his Down to the Well CD, a duet with Grammy-winner Lucinda Williams, was featured on two prominent compilations: the 2001 Oxford American Southern Music Sampler, and No Depression: What It Sounds like, Volume 1, released by Dualtone in 2004.

Gordon tours regularly throughout the U.S., and is a regular performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Louisiana Folklife Festival. Also a published poet, Gordon holds an MFA degree from the renowned University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two children.