Kelly Moneymaker, yes that’s her real name, released her third solo record this month entitled Race Against The Sky. Without a shadow of a doubt, this could easily be the best CD from a recording artist in 2013.
Alaskan native Kelly Moneymaker mixed her amazing bluesy vocal talent with a group of extreme veteran musicians called In The Black. Featured on drums is Herman Matthews (Tower of Power), guitarists Gabriel Moses (Macy Gray) and Bruce Watson (Foreigner), and Michael Mennell on bass (Kenny Loggins).
With some added help from Kim Bullard (Elton John) and Lenny Castro (Rolling Stones), amongst others, you can see where this is going. The excellent musicianship of all these players certainly must be credited for the successful outcome of this record but the vocal performance and delivery of Kelly Moneymaker takes center stage.
As some have compared Moneymaker’s soulful voice to Janis Joplin with a hint of Tina Turner, it is really her vocal ownership of these songs that makes this CD so great. Unlike her two previous releases, Race Against The Sky brought out her true roots, inspiration, and original writing talent.
The first track, Swampy Things, sets the stage for what’s to follow as this deep rooted blues based song showcases Kelly Moneymaker’s bluesy vocals yet leaves room for cutting edge blues guitar that makes you think they have been playing together for decades. With a cool grove to the song I can easily see this as a live performance favorite.
Followed by the sultry song, Eyes, Moneymaker displays her soulful vocal variety with a unique blend of acoustic and electric guitar. One listen to this song and you will realize how she could easily captivate an audience with just an acoustic guitar and her voice.
The title track, Race Against The Sky could be the most marketable song on the CD as it has a slight rock edge to it with an ending full of blazing guitar work and powerhouse bass and drums.
Hello Beauty, Fall In Love and Bring It On Home are three of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear. As a veteran singer and song writer, these three songs were written solely by Kelly Moneymaker which is a pretty good indicator of how she expresses herself when left alone with an instrument and her imagination.
Black Magic and Blue Jeans, Best Kind of Friend, Drivin’ in the Rain, Get Your Love On, No, No, No, and L.O.V.E. each provide their own unique groove blending blues, soul, funk, and at times rock. All are full of high energy and custom built for the road.
Bang A Drum is a bit different than the overall theme of the album but perhaps one of the best tracks on it. You could easily relate this song to some of Dave Mathews‘ work.
All thirteen songs are extremely well-written, with Kelly Moneymaker writing five on her own and the other eight she co-wrote with other writers and band members.
If someone were to ask me to give a short version critique of this CD, I would simply say, “Race Against The Sky is the greatest live album (without an audience) ever recorded. You will truly expect to hear a roaring crowd after every song.”
The song writing, vocals, musicianship and overall production are superb. Looking at the credits and resumes of the musicians, guest performers, back-up singers and production staff you can see what a tremendous infrastructure was behind this masterpiece.
With Herman Matthews and Michael Mennell making an air-tight rhythm section and Gabriel Moses and Bruce Watson as two level ten guitarists, you can see how Kelly Moneymaker only had to worry about herself.
Although every song is uniquely different, my personal favorites are Bring It On Home, Hello Beauty, Bang A Drum and Race Against The Sky.
If this is not the best CD you have heard in 2013, you can “kick my extra-wide behind.” Five stars!
Visit Kelly Moneymaker at: www.kellymoneymaker.com
Kelly Moneymaker will be at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Nov. 1st…
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
HOUSE OF BLUES (Foundation Room)
8430 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood CA 90069
323.848.5100 or 323.848.5125 (FR Host)
11 PM $10 cover 21+