By Charlie Englar
A seasoned veteran of open road nostalgia and soulful serenades, troubadour Kevin Dooley comes with it again via his fifth studio album, Moonlight Highway.
The Longmont resident has pulled together a superb band, with the likes of Eric Thorin, Gurf Morlix, John Magnie and Steve Amedee helping to create the country/Americana/Celtic vibe of the album.
“Love’s Been Linked To The Blues,” a David Olney joint, opens with the Subdudes’ John Magnie sending ripples off his Hammond B-3, leading into a deep and dirty rhythm right in tune with Dooley’s barbed-wire vocal delivery. Mid-song finds a guitar trading licks with bubbly pops of organ.
The title track to the album, “Moonlight Highway,” bounces along with vivid musical imagery of open-road travel along the highways of the western U.S. – Bret Billings’ pedal steel acts as the car, and Jessie Burns and his Celtic fiddle ride shotgun.
The Ray Bonneville original “The Big Easy” may be the most interesting and beautiful number on the disc. John Magnie switches from the organ over to an accordion for this one, peacefully pushing along as Dooley drawls the lyrics and a snare drum quietly shakes.
A countryman living in a wide-open country, Kevin Dooley knows what he likes and does it well. Moonlight Highway keeps things mellow, but the guitar work and rhythms really make the album stand out.