Local Record Review: 'You Feel Like Home' by Kevin Earnest

Categories: Beat Blvd.
Kevin Earnest
You Feel Like Home

Kevin Earnest's one of the many OC musicians, in this case specifically from Santa Ana, who've decided to move a little north to pursue their music dreams in full, not that we begrudge them per se. It probably explains why he has a song called "Beyond the Orange Groves," though then again there's "Ballard, California," perhaps the first time the Santa Barbara County hamlet has been celebrated in such a way. Also, we salute anyone who decides not to go the Imperial Stars route to fame by default, and if Earnest's new album, just released yesterday, doesn't blow a listener away at first, it does sneak up on you a bit, the type of album that makes you a little bummed that it's ended.

Earnest's got the kind of high voice that gently cracks and reaches around the edges, suiting the crisp enough arrangements whether they're slower string-touched moments or sudden rushes of acoustic guitar energy or even flamenco horn breaks -- or in the case of "The Rain Maker," all three in the space of a song. The kind of jaunty, piano-led not-quite-seventies pop-rock/not-quite modern-indie-rock that You Feel Like Home showcases, performed by Earnest and a rhythm section plus various guests, is familiar enough on first blush. Yet the strong piano-led element throughout much of the album, in combination with his voice, suggests the prettier side of Queen throughout the seventies, the kind of thing that acts like Mika have happily cloned in recent years as well. 

Earnest likes going big as he does -- not arena-rock reverb big, but songs like "We're Not So Different" and "A Hummingbird Song" aren't small sounding either -- while it's almost strangely comforting to hear a big ol' guitar solo towards the end of "We Wear It Well." It's not quite the truly surprising appearance of one in the Carpenters' "Goodbye to Love" but it's part of a tradition nonetheless. You Feel Like Home is on balance not twee, but it's definitely comforting in aural feeling despite the sometimes melancholy lyrics, and "In the Mourning" ends it on an appropriate note, less dawn feeling than end-of-the-show singalong that's both downbeat and a good way to wrap it up for another night.

You Feel Like Home is available through Bandcamp and Amazon among other sites. Earnest plays a record release show tonight at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles.

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Give this guy the cover! I bought his CD after reading this article (and previewing the songs on itunes first hehe). I can't believe this guy isn't famous yet! 

David Morris
David Morris

Awesome! You guys should do a story on this guy! Check him out live too!!!

Kathy Howard
Kathy Howard

Solid review!  I have to agree and say that I have Kevin's album in my car on repeat because I don't want to be bummed it ended!  I can't get enough of this guy!

Cindy irving
Cindy irving

Cool review! The album is on repeat nonstop! Great stuff!

Cameron Wade
Cameron Wade

Saw this guy at the detroit bar, kicked ass!!! He had a whole bunch of string players with him. Epic!!! Gonna buy the album now! 

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