Review: Joe Kille – Arkadelphia

joekille_arkadelphiaMusic should take you on a journey, to a place or time. From the outset of Joe Kille‘s Arkadelphia my mind ventured immediately to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Namely, the Fitzgerald Theater where Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion is often performed and recorded. The songs of Arkadelphia could easily serve as musical interludes on the radio variety show.

A multi-instrumentalist from the Philadelphia area, Joe Kille plays and records with local acts such as Broken Prayers and Los Culeros. Somewhat of a hired gun, Joe has been involved with artists from coast to coast, including Soft Gut, Wes Mattheu & The New Way Down, Sonya Cotton, The Miners and Morning River Band, lending his talents on fiddle, lap steel, banjo, guitar and occasional vocals.

Recruiting his network of musicians, Joe rerecorded songs from previous releases dating back to 2009 to comprise Arkadelphia. The end product being a sprawling, original affair that touches all corners of the nation, drawing influence from traditional American music. From the banjo and harmonies of “Blood in my Heart” to the  instrumental jam of “Horseflies” the songs of Arkadelphia are neither overwrought or too minimal in their construction. Vocal fills and instrumentation are well timed and only aid to further the songs.

One more shot and then I’ll go
One more shot and then I’ll go
No corn in heaven so I’m told
I’m goin’ down the King’s highway

Relying on Ben Bradlow and Emiliano Rodriguez to carry the bulk of the vocal duties, the stories of Arkadelphia are the album’s clear strength. These lines from “I’m Walking, Up Jump Go!” are the buried kernel that informs the album’s dichotomy: even while walking the righteous path one can be easily be swayed into temptation.

Sinners and saints alike, both are represented on Arkedelphia. Perhaps none more so than on “Dry Land.”

I’m a man of good faith
But my wife says she doubts me
We can walk in the footsteps
Of our Savior and King
But Christ was just a man
And he had his own doubts too

Knowing what he had, Joe Kille felt compelled to rerecord the 12 songs that comprise Arkadelphia. In doing so Joe reveals the truth of human nature in ways few albums do. No matter your path, the time is now. Be damned or be saved, the moment is yours to be seized. Consequences come later.

Joe Kille is not one for the spotlight but given his resumé he is never far away. Seemingly omnipresent in the Philadelphia music scene, let’s hope Joe remains around and about as his talent will take him places, be it a local watering hole or perhaps Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Stream Arkadelphia below or view the entire album as a video playlist here. Vinyl copies of the album can be purchased by contacting Joe Kille through his site.

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