Still the Man

Happy Town (ear X-tacy Records)

Tim Krekel

By Kevin Gibson

Louisville's favorite songwriter has done it again; with Happy Town, his first release since 1999's Underground, Tim Krekel proves again, well, why he's Louisville's favorite songwriter. If you didn't make it for the album release party at Headliners in March, then you at least need to pick up the disc, a collection of eleven Krekel originals that shines from start to finish.

"Sunshine Baby" is a slice of Marshall Crenshaw pop, while "It's a New Day" puts him in the roots-rock realm of the Black Crowes. Thus is the subtle diversity of Krekel's keen songwriting sensibilities. He can write an all-out pop tune without ever having it sound trite (no mean feat) and then rock out with the best of them without sounding out of his element.

But those familiar with Krekel know I'm preaching to the converted here. If you aren't, here's a fun way to introduce yourself to his accomplishments: Go to

www.allmusic.net

, do an artist search on Tim Krekel, then read through the lists of "worked with" and "songs appear on." It's pretty impressive - here you'll find the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Martina McBride, Patty Loveless, Delbert McClinton, Jason and the Scorchers, Crystal Gayle, Sam Bush ... need I go on?

So, getting back to the new album, Happy Town, sit down and listen to a song like "Best Thing I Never Had," and yes, you can see why so many artists enlist Mr. Krekel's services - it is pure and beautiful roots rock at its best. The longing in "Come Back Baby" works in a Springsteen kind of way (although I still say Krekel is better), while the title track and "Fell Down in Memphis" find Krekel in a rockin' blues mode, almost in the vein of vintage Dave Edmunds. Then, deep into the album, we get "Come Around," a slow-burning heartbreaker filled with emotion and a "sometimes wishes don't come true" lesson.

OK, I'm finished. But I'm left wondering something: Why are you still reading this review when you should be on your way to Bardstown Road (or www.timkrekel.com) to buy Happy Town?