John Kilzer. Scars. Archer Records

61BLOyK6jJL._SY355_Blowing in from Memphis, John Kilzer has a ton of baggage tailing him. An academic and a Minister of Divinity, he’s known hard times with substance abuse but has also had some success with several of his songs covered by various luminaries. Scars finds him in pensive mood, reflecting on his past and ruminating on the current state of affairs in his homeland, in a manner which reminds one at times of a combination of John Hiatt and Paul McCartney.

The album opens with the well mannered sixties pop sensibilities of Flat Bed Truck, a song which sounds as if McCartney was reminiscing about a Texas truck stop as opposed to Penny Lane all those years ago, a trick repeated on Woods Of Love. However, there’s some meatier stuff to be heard here as Dark Highway boogies along with some fine piano playing and The American Blues slopes in slyly as Kilzer gets a bit snarly when describing the state of his nation with a fine note of paranoia thrown in. On a more introspective note, the title song is a tender number laced with acoustic guitar and subtle keyboards as Kilzer accepts and acknowledges his past while the trenchant Time, with stark piano and biting guitar, seems to point out that he’s there to guide others stuck in a dark past.

Kilzer closes the album with a lopsided love song, Rope The Moon. Here he remakes/remodels George Bailey’s declaration of love in It’s A Wonderful Life adding a degree of modern angst and an excellent arrangement as the song builds to its climax. Overall, an interesting album which grows on repeated listening.

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