Bryan Minks and the Kentucky Sons – Last Will and Testament

a0602957227_10Existential Alternative Country

Self-Released September 2, 2016

Bryan Minks has been a prominent member of the Lexington country // Americana music scene for several years now – you may know him for leading the long-standing band, Those Crosstown Rivals. But where TCR are a diesel-powered, punk-influenced group, the Kentucky Sons channel a more standard modern country sound. Their music is laid out by some member in common with TCR, as well as some new folks – fleshed out with acoustic guitar, fuzzy electric guitar, bass, drums, fiddle, as well as the occasional slide guitar and female vocals.

Many of the songs on Last Will and Testament deal with some fairly heavy stuff: loneliness, regret, and longing for the past. You can hear this well on “Borrowed Time” which is laid out with lots of slide guitar and fiddle, with a repeated chorus of ‘time is all I got left, and there ain’t none to borrow.’ “Cover Me in Hay” is a new take on a TCR song I first heard in 2012, and it’s interesting to hear it in this different light – stripped of the ‘cow-punk’ style it had on Kentucky Gentlemen, it’s quite a bit more somber and serious, but expands on the original song with some more depth and emotion. The standout on the album is “Proud,” a track that nearly hides how dark and lonely the lyrics are with the upbeat sounds in the instrumentation. The song (which has a video you can see here) deals with depression and the desire to make your loved ones proud – ‘I was cold long before my body was ever found, I was a ghost long before you put me in the ground’ are some of my favorite lyrics on the album.

The musicians on Last Will and Testament play with some great chops, and Sneak Attack’s Jason Groves does an excellent job capturing and balancing them all. I’ll admit: I was surprised by the emotion and darkness on this record, but impressed by how Bryan Minks approached the subjects so honestly and straightforwardly. Last Will and Testament is a great sounding record which grapples with some of the big, heavy stuff in the human experience.

Tracks I Liked: Reckless and Free!, Borrowed Time!!, Beautiful Soul!, The Answer!, Proud!!!

Ben Southworth – October 8, 2016 – Kenwick Place

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