By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio
Bill Lloyd | Don’t Kill the Messenger
(Whole In One, 2020)
The relatively serene composure elucidated in the gentle repose of “The Kiss of the Summer Wind,” a warm musical hug of a song that closes Bill Lloyd’s latest long player, Don’t Kill the Messenger, heralds a change of season and tone. Don’t Kill the Messenger is another winning collection from this classic musician.
With “The Kiss of the Summer Wind,” Lloyd’s calming, melodic salve lowers the temperature drawn by the 11 songs that precede it, that, all told, rock with purpose, powered as they are by a surfeit of hard-charging electric guitars, purposeful and perceptive lyrical conceits, and the usual keen sense of melody. When this longtime favorite Nashvillian sings, we all listen.
An album about the art of communication and what that amounts to in the grand scheme of things, Don’t Kill the Messenger makes otherwise potentially unpalatable situations charted within its songs pay off by suggesting better angels to pursue.
In the hard-charging rocker “I’ve Had Enough of Your Love,” the narrator learns to walk away to lower the temperature on a soured relationship. In the quirky, chunky rocker “KAKA’N’8IT,” a person’s floor caves in as the spoils of war amount to the realization that too much is usually quite enough. And in the sly, winking, four-on-the-floor rocker “You Got Me,” cowritten with legendary producer of the Band, the Cyrkle and Simon and Garfunkel, John Simon, the perfect partner turns out to be less than that.
Lloyd stacks his deck of songs with more winning cowrites, putting pen to paper and pick to guitar strings with a number of longstanding pals, such as David Surface, Prince sideman Dez Dickerson, and Les Bohem, who has played bass for Sparks. Among the guest musicians who help bring these songs to life is Pure Pop Radio favorite Seth Timbs, who plays keyboards on two songs.
On this album’s photo-adorned cover, a sign, placed under a thick, hovering tree just ahead of a weathered white building, advertises a psychic’s tarot card and palm reading services. Depending on your state of mind, you would likely either scoff at this notion and take a nothing-to-see-here approach or wonder what might transpire by entering the building and chatting with the psychic.
Whichever road you choose to travel, playing Bill Lloyd’s latest rock-solid collection of melodic pop and roll is the kiss of the summer wind, not to mention the breeze that blows through the fall, winter and spring. Let it surround you.
Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Etch-a-Sketch,” “KAKE’N’8IT,” “You Got Me,” and “The Kiss of the Summer Wind”
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