It speaks well of Keith that he is able to tackle this sort of subject matter so successfully in a pop/rock format and though this CD makes it seem so, this is not always easy to do. Keith explains: "When I wrote `These Colors Don't Run` in September of 2002, it was before the Iraq situation began to develop. I wrote it as if I were speaking to terrorists directly. I felt that things needed to be put into context for them, from the very inception of our nation, from our very founding. I was tired of hearing people cite only late 20th century examples of our behavior. I attempted to replace the terrorists' definition of what they think it means to be American with this American's definition of what being `American` is all about. The song never took a position of right or wrong. The point of the song was simply that for better or worse, we don't buckle and we're not going to dissolve or cease to exist, that we will not be annihilated.
The problem is that people think the song is about the Iraq War. I've been heckled for it too. People have yelled, `Send it to George Bush!` Oh well, it just makes me play louder."
Despite that little bit of controversy, both musical and lyrical hooks abound, propelled by infectious grooves and tasty, often incendiary, guitar playing.
There is a good deal of variety on this disc also. Probably about as diverse a collection of songs as can be grouped together and still fit within the genre (though at times, refreshingly, pushing the envelope). Some songs have an ever-so-slight country tinge to them. Others, a jazzy treatment over a form which is not jazz at all - ingenious! Still others might almost recall the days of hair metal, save for the deep, intelligent lyrics ("You Don't Make Love, You Let It").
Although the songs are quite delicious individually and each able to stand on its own, this CD is an entire body of work which is even better when taken as a whole. If you think of a Hollywood film as an album, and each scene in the film as a song on the album, you'll have a better idea of what that means. To be sure, give this disc a listen.
Production-wise if you are looking for the commercial, major label studio sounding recordings, this disc probably is not for you. However, if you enjoy the independent/underground singer/songwriter type of thing and don't mind the semi-pro studio/demo type of sound, you won't be disappointed.... And if you like good songs, you'll love it!
ALL KILLER, NO FILLER.
This disc is highly recommended listening.
Keith's bio follows:
In this exciting time of fragmented marketplaces anything seems available. Peruse any record store or surf the net for Rock and you'll notice the mass proliferation of Rock sub-categories. From Math Rock to Dumbcore, anything is available. Dead center in the middle of all these extremes is Keith Sullivan. In the genre simply entitled Rock, Keith is right on target. In fact, with his brand of solid songcraft coupled with intelligent lyrics, it's a bull's-eye. We're not talking the sounds of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's or any other decade here. We're not talking trends. We're not speaking of that which could ever go out of style, but of style itself. From the sultry swagger of a tender ballad to the molten hot sound of guitar infused rock anthems, this is the sound of Contemporary Modern Rock.
This is Keith Sullivan.
The guitar slinging vocalist began writing when he was fourteen. He got his first cheapo electric guitar later that same year. High school bands were formed and disbanded. Next came bar bands and cover bands. For Keith it was fun, not work.
Keith says all he's ever really wanted was to be part of a great band. As he puts it, "A real drummer can do in five minutes what I can't do with a machine in five months. I'm not a bass player either. I'm a guitarist and a songwriter." This willingness to listen open-mindedly, to learn and be mentored, bodes well for him. unpretentious, Keith is no "wannabe" celebrity or star. He's not a star by any stretch of the imagination. He doesn't need to be. In fact, rather than promote himself, he prefers to divert attention to the songs. It's all about the music. A listen to Keith's material only reiterates this. Nope, not a "wannabe", but an "already is", he is a writer writing, a player playing, a musician on the prowl.
He is simply a "Rocker at Large."
Once, when asked if he was an Eighties Rocker, Keith responded with the noteworthy reply, "Geez, dude, how old do you think I am anyway? Besides, if I were whatever an Eighties Rocker is supposed to be and it's now 2003, wouldn't that make me a 2003 Rocker? And by the way, NO."
Keith is clearly in this thing for the long haul. Music for him seems less a career choice than a way of life. No longer willing to wait for success, he is proceeding without it. When asked if he wants a record "deal" Keith chuckles, "I'm not dwelling on that. It's out of my hands." Indeed, music is not so much what he does, but who he is. These days his time is spent dwelling only on those things which are under his control such as improving his performance skills, musicianship and writing ability. How does one define a career? Is it measured by what one has gained, or all they've produced and left behind for others after a life well lived? Either way, it'll be music for life if Keith's past dedication is any indicator. Likely it is.
He sums his feelings up this way: "Of all the things I've done in the world during my lifetime, my songs have been my greatest contribution. I'll never stop writing and I'll perform live whenever I possibly can, just for the rush. That's what it's really all about. Magic. It's pure euphoria."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Heatseekin' Woman
3. She Takes Me Higher
4. These Colors Don't Run
6. She's The Winner
9. Do The Math
10. You Don't Make Love (You Let It)
11. El Cajon (live)