RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Kelly Keeling - Mind Radio     
Frontier Records       

Rating: B+

Vocalist Kelly Keeling is back with another solo album, his first in nearly a decade!  He’s been on a hot streak within the last year with new material released with Red Zone Rider and Foundry, to this latest solo offering, Mind Radio, via Frontiers Records.

Kelly Keeling is a hard rocker who first burst on the scene with the band Baton Rouge, scoring a minor-hit with “Walks Like a Woman” before grunge came crashing through your MTV screen and Baton Rouge was no more.

After a brief stint with Blue Murder on “Nothing But Trouble,” Kelly became a journeyman, lending his vocal talents and songwriting skills to such projects and artists like Carmine Appice’s Guitar Zeus and King Korba, John Norum, Michael Schenker, George Lynch and even the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Kelly has a distinctive voice, instantly recognizable, and when he rocks he’s passionately powerful and bluesy, and when the tempo slows, he can sign hauntingly beautiful, reminiscent to James Dewar.  If there was ever one guitarist Kelly could do justice for it is Robin Trower.  Who knows, maybe one day!

In 2005, he released his first solo album, Giving Sight to the Eye.  A patchy affair that flew under the radar, this time out, Kelly has a producer and label that should have this album make some more noise.   Frontier Records has entrusted house producer, Alessandro Del Vecchio, and his band to create a melodic rock gem for Kelly.  While Alessandro has hand-crafted some BIG albums just within the past year with Revolution Saints and LRS, he works in partnership with Kelly on this release, but surprisingly there are three tracks from the Baton Rouge songwriting team.

Kicking things off, is the melodic rock opener, “This Love Our Paradise,” which reminds me a lot of the band Revolution Saints.  Not that that is a bad thing, as this has Alessandro’s production stamp all over it.  “Isolated Man,” a guitar charging rocker is up next, has Kelly finding his groove.  “Sunshine over Me” and “Still Need You in My Arms” slow the pace down a bit, only to be kicked up by “Written in Fire.”  The first Baton Rouge track sheds some of the melodic rock polish, and will leave old school Kelly fans drooling for more.

“Take it to the Limit” once again has a Revolution Saints feel to it, while “Love Will Tear us Apart,” is an acoustic power rocker. “Frozen in Time,” written by Work of Art’s Robert Sall, changes the tone, and Kelly’s vocals fit perfectly. “Monkey House” follows next, another Baton Rouge track, and again, kicks up the hard rock again.  The last of the Baton Rouge tracks, “Who Do You Run To,” a gritty hard rocker, closes this album out on a high note.

The best songs are the Baton Rouge penned tracks, along with “This Love Our Paradise,” and “Take it to the Limit.”  Actually there is not one bad track on here.  For fans of Kelly, as well as fans of Frontiers AOR-melodic style, this album is a no-brainer purchase. 

As mentioned previously, Kelly is a rock journeyman, always giving 110% to everything he releases from solo albums, artist collaborations to band projects. Maybe someday he could team up with Robin Trower, or come home to Baton Rouge and get a proper reunion album. 

Track Listing:
1.         This Love Our Paradise
2.         Isolated Man
3.         Sunshine Over Me
4.         Still Need You In My Arms
5.         Written In Fire
6.         Take Me To The Limit
7.         Love Will Tear Us Apart
8.         No Man's Land
9.         Frozen In Time
10.       Monkey House
11.       Ride Out The Storm
12.       Who Do You Run To

By Dan Toner