A Power Pop Soul Offering from Kevin Pittman
Will Be Out on September 15
Think Philly soul a la Daryl Hall meets 70s-era Keith Richards; add some Crowded House, then sprinkle some Nile Rodgers guitar riffs on top!
Sundog is a magnificent collection of pop, R&B, and rock, for Kevin Pittman, who writes about boats, family, friends, babysitters, love, and death, combined with grooves and melodies that will stick in your ears like glue. This 11-song independent release was produced at Shadewood Studios in Charles City, VA, and Upstate Sound Studios in Greenville, SC, with his musical soulmate and drummer Kim Haynie for their label, 50lb Records. Kevin played all the instruments and sang vocals with one guest player, Stephen McCarthy (The Long Ryders, The Jayhawks), on lap steel. Sundog will be released on September 15, 2023, on physical cd and digital streaming platforms.
I move in wider circles now
I hold the reins; I work the plow
I’ve seen things come and go.
Blinded by what I can’t see
I’m just a boy that’s looking for his Sundog – “Sundog”
The songs on Sundog are lush with infectious melodies, vocals, and grooves, starting with the first riff of “Sundog,” which speaks about how life’s clarity isn’t always on time to the last chord on “Without Beginning Middle or End,” which addresses Kevin’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. One listen, and you’ll be hooked on songs like “Gas Station Sleep,” “Wake Up The Street,” and the leading single, “Gumdrop Blue,” tunes filled with messages and grooves. Kevin’s words and imagery are ambiguous and detailed, creating musical vignettes flowing from one song to the next, melding many genres into one, fitting Kevin’s expressive voice and infectious personality.
Kevin explains the song “Gumdrop Blue”- “I like the idea that there is a place for you in this world, and it may not be where you think you are headed or might end up. I had ‘Gumdrop Blue’ written down and liked the imagery and sound of the words; it just seems to fit the song about blue skies and Reedville. Also, I really like the fat sound of the drums and the way it goes to double time during the chorus – it gives the song flight.”
In the song “Gas Station Sleep,” Kevin continues, “The main idea behind this song is about being deceived by different people and things in your life… to the point of becoming disorientated. What was up is now down; what was left is now right, being kept in the dark and misled.”
“Wake Up The Street” – “I had the line ‘You got frontier spirit and speed,’ I just pictured a woman smoking a cigarette holding court out in the yard, and the song wrote itself. This is probably my best lyric of the album. It paints a vivid picture of this sassy-mouthed gal that doesn’t put up with a lot of mess.”
You gonna wake up the street
The dogs are barking
People trying to sleep
You show the world
Your sawmill teeth
You always jawing
Now get back in the house
And hush your sassy mouth – “Wake Up The Street”
But wait – what is a Sundog?
It’s a concentrated patch of sunlight that appears on both sides of the sun at the horizon line that creates a canine ‘face’ – Kevin recalls his dad always looking for one: “I think growing up in a small fishing village like Reedville, people talk about the weather more than people living in urban/city areas just because your life and livelihood revolve around how it behaves. I was drawn to the idea of not seeing something that was staring you in the face, and then one day, you suddenly noticed it being there and realized that it was there all along.”
Who is Kevin Pittman?
Well, I whistled down Baltimore
My false teeth shine like brand-new coins
Hat in hand, I walk the shore
Where the rivers join – “Gumdrop Blue”
Kevin Pittman hails from Reedville, VA, a small coastal town, into a family of boatbuilders, and at one time, Kevin worked as a propeller pattern maker for his father on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. With little to do after work hours, he and his friends would play as loud as they could next to a local fish factory. That’s where the music bug bit Kevin; he was hooked.
He joined The Dads, a high-energy outfit in the 80s that toured up and down the East Coast with live shows and had a considerable word-of-mouth fanbase that landed some arena-opening opportunities with The Kinks, The Romantics, and Culture Club, to name a few. After they disbanded, he formed the three-piece band Wit Lincolns, and they set their sights on a move to L.A., and that’s when the doors opened for them with live shows, studio sessions, and musical friendships. The band had some great opportunities that eventually led to his signing a demo deal with Jimmy Iovine, who was starting his legendary record label, Interscope. After three years in the L.A. haze, Kevin returned to the East Coast, where he is still located.
Back in Virginia, Kevin built his studio and kept writing songs and playing live with friends and old bandmates, especially with Stephen McCarthy of The Long Ryders and Bryan Harvey, the lead singer of House of Freaks, and his old band, The Dads. They formed a 70s R&B band called NRG KRYSYS that spanned over seven years but never released a studio album. In 2019, Kevin returned to the studio with Haynie and released Victrola Mouth to his longtime fan base, reaching further out with the new digital platforms. The album was well received, finding a global audience with over 40,000 digital streams, and added by playlist owners and Spotify curators to over 100 playlists. His song “Start Where U Stand” has over 7K streams on Spotify alone from the South American music market.
Kevin’s musical history sounds like a jukebox, grabbing influences from many genres; however, his blend of pop, vintage R&B, and rock makes his sound refreshing, and Sundog continues the journey.