Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – Gift Horse

January 01, 1970

(Vanguard)

 

www.vanguardrecords.com

 

From the
opening track, “Gravity,” on Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers’ new album Gift Horse we know we are in for
something special.  “Gravity, you’re
knocking me out, you shaking me up ‘til I twist and I shout.  Gravity, it’s okay in the clouds, but I love
it right here with my feet on the ground,” Kellogg sings with his sweet
voice.  Kellogg and the Sixers are known
for their prolific lyrics, folk-rock tunes and hilarious stage antics.  They’re the total package and with this new
album.

 

“Gravity” is
followed by “Who We Are, Who We’ll Become.” 
Kellogg tends to write personal lyrics that everyone can relate to – like
here, about growing up and what his grandfather told him when he was young – “don’t
put off tomorrow what you can do today and when you find the one, say it loud
and bold,” and it may be his own, but everyone has their own early memories,
and this song can resonate with them because it will remind them of
theirs.  He sings about how he went
through life remembering what his grandfather said while following his own
dreams and that “who we are is who we’ll become.”  In the end, he realizes, “Someday I guess
it’ll be me, passing on words to my own legacy. 
What I leave behind is more than what I came with.”

 

“1993” has a
peppier groove to it and is about how he was only 16 when he met his wife,
sneaking out of his parent’s house, throwing rocks at her window and how, “I
fell in love back in 1993.”  It
chronicles their life together – their first apartment, eating takeout food, to
getting married to their first baby. 
It’s his love story but enjoyable because when people hear it, they will
not only want to dance, perhaps, but it will remind them of their first love,
their current love or their forever love. 
The love that changed them, like the love he is singing about.  That makes Kellogg unique as a
songwriter.  He can write songs that are
personal but so many of his fans find them relatable, like he is singing them
just for him, and with many, he is.  He
sings about that first love, that lost love, the tough times, the good times –
and how they are all so real and how we are all so connected.  His songs come to life and make you feel like
you are a part of them.

 

“We Belong
Here” is more musically layered and the lyrics are genuine: “When you’re young
all you want is a place to belong. 
You’ll change how you look and the way that you talk.  If I’m being honest I have to admit that
sometimes it gets to me still.  Like I’m
back in school and I want them to like me but I know that they never will.  I belong here right where I am; I know I was
meant to be here.”  His lyrics reach
somewhere inside where we can nod and say yes, I’ve been there, but I belong
here too.

 

“Watch You
Grow” has a nice vibe that opens with whistling (not a surprise, they play
kazoos onstage), “My Favorite Place” opens with beautiful piano that then
mingles with acoustic guitar; the title track, “Gift Horse,” has that folk-rock
vibe that they are known for; “Roots and Wings” is a bit of a pop-rock song,
showing how diverse this band is musically. 
They never hold back, always trying something new.  A band like Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers takes
risks and that is something admirable. 
They could stick to what they have and what works, but they went from
being a folk-rock band and adding layers to being very versatile.  They even added a tuba for one song, “The
Bear.”  With a band that is always
evolving, change is certainly a good thing for them.  They show that they aren’t afraid to try new
things and that is what good musicians do. 
Kellogg’s lyrics can be uplifting to heartbreaking but are always honest
and candid.  He says what he feels and
that speaks to listeners.  If you can
feel, not just hear, an artist’s music, that is true art, and that is what
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers are.

 

DOWNLOAD:  “Gravity,” “1993”  NICOLE ROBERGE

 

Leave a Reply