Krekel comes out swingin'

Out of the Corner (Bluesland)
Tim Krekel

By Allen Howie

To call Out of the Corner "roots rock" is probably accurate, but misses the point. No mere recycling of rock's origins, the new record by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tim Krekel is an inspired and promising indication of how far it can go. Here you'll find the last of a dying breed, a guy who got into this business simply because he loves music. In conversation, Krekel is as likely to try to turn you on to his favorite artists as he is to tout his own songs, and his enthusiasm is there in every track of his new record.

Krekel kick-starts the album with the sonic boom of "No Mo Do Giacomo," then slips into a menacing "That Kind of Love," flashing leads full of light and heat. The title track, about a gal who only hits her stride at midnight, packs a mighty big wallop, as does its darker counterpart, the ominous "Scandalized."

The hilarious "Half a Brain," which Krekel has been performing in his solo acoustic shows around town, is a scathing social commentary that rounds up most of the usual suspects (shady politicians, corrupt televangelists), but also lays a share for the blame at the doorstep of those who blindly follow such characters. What sets the song apart from others of its kind is the good-natured jab the singer takes at himself before the song ends.

Krekel breathes fiery life into the Chuck Berry-ish rock of "Shy Guy," then hits the high point on a record that's full of them — "All Night Radio" is the genuine article, a tribute to the source of the singer's love for music and a marvelous example of how that music can transport the listener. In recalling the sound of the airwaves during his formative years, the song draws the listener back into his or her own youth, when the radio was still a new discovery and every song a delight.

Implicit in the song is a kind of sadness at the realization that Top 40 radio as it was in the early years of rock 'n' roll no longer exists, and that style has replaced substance on most of today's playlists. "All Night Radio" picks up where Van Morrison's "Caravan" left off, and it's the kind of song that could single-handedly resurrect Bob Seger's career if he ever chose to record it. Anyone who ever stayed awake at night with the radio on, feeling comfortably connected with the rest of the world as you all listened together, will find the same connection in this tune.

The album closes with a nice triple play. First comes the Keith Richards crunch of "Take a Ride," then "Changing of the Guard" warns against the perils of revolving-door romance, while "Burning Over You" sounds like U2 with Springsteen replacing Bono, as Krekel finds himself powerless in the grip of love. It might well serve as a metaphor for his love of music, an enthusiasm that makes Out of the Corner a delight, pure and simple.