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  Come Somewhere
Artist:  Jerry Gaskill
Label:  InsideOut Music America
Length:  15 Tracks/47:55

When the Beatles broke up George Harrison took the opportunity to release All Things Must Pass, a triumphant three-album set of now classic rock compositions he had not been able to finish or release with the Fab Four.  The resulting album cased folks to stand up and take notice of the “quiet” Beatle. 

Fast forward to 2004 the “quiet” member of King’s X, drummer Jerry Gaskill has released his first CD of tunes that he has had brewing in his mind for quite some time.  And while the CD is not as epic in scope (or length!) as All Things Must Pass, King’s X fans and rock fans in generally will be pleasantly surprised at the strength of this offering from Gaskill. 

Behind a cover featuring an unclad (but covered by her arms and legs), pensive lady in a room empty except for a floral arrangement is a collection of tunes featuring a combination of hooky, acoustic guitar and fuzzy drop-tuned guitar arrangements that I found instantly appealing.  Kicking the CD off is “The Kids”—a song that immediately sets the tone for the record with a few classic-rock sounding acoustic notes that veer promptly into a yummy King’s X-like funky guitar hook. 

Jerry’s voice is immediately recognizable if you are familiar with King’s X (not surprising since he has provided background and harmony vocals on many of there songs).  Gaskill sounds a lot like band-mate Ty Tabor (this is a good thing!), and I even hear some Jerry Garcia at times in his vocals.  The vox compliment the music nicely. 

As a fan of King’s X works (admittedly I tend to enjoy their early stuff more) I found myself musically enjoying the CD on the first listen. Come Somewhere reminds me of some of the earlier work and some of Ty’s great solo efforts.  The songs feature strong drumming (not a surprise from Jerry), interesting hooks, classic-rock acoustic guitar work, and some cool retro-sounding touches.  Kind of a King’s X meets Beatles/77s/acoustic Led Zep/ CSN&Y vibe.

The lyrics are all over the map and take a stream-of-consciousness tone that cover topics from relationships and love to abstract concepts and thoughts that probably only Jerry could explain.  Take these lyrics from “Gallop” for example:  “Lift up your skirt and show me just what you’re thinking/I can read your mind/down there, nowhere.” Absent is the spirituality that has laced lyrics of King’s X in the past, and some readers will want to know that Gaskill lobs the f-bomb at the end of the song “L.A. Flight” and many times during the hard rocking “Face the Day.” 

Bottom line:  Musically Come Somewhere is enthralling; lyrically it is enigmatic and puzzling.   If you are a die-hard King’s X fan this will be essential.  Fans of the first three to five King’s X albums will enjoy the music, but may not appreciate the lyrical content. 

Barry Nothstine 4/18/2004
 
 

Barry Nothstine hosts Soul Frequency (http://www.soulfrequency.com), a weekly FM and Internet radio show showcasing progressive rock, instrumental rock, Christian rock, power-pop, Psychedelic rock, rock classics and more—great rock for the ages!

After twenty plus years of touring with King’s X, and watching bandmates Ty Tabor and Doug Pinnick release multiple solo and side project album, drummer Jerry Gaskill has, at long last, answered the question fan have been asking him for a decade: “When is your solo album going to come out?”

King’s X fans are familiar with Gaskill’s work as a drummer, his legendary offbeat sense of humor, and the occasional song penned by him on King’s X projects (“American Cheese”, “Six Broken Soldiers”).  Come Somewhere shows some King’s X influences, as is to be expected (Ty Tabor produced and plays guitar), but the most obvious nod here is to the Beatles, and '60’s psychedelica.  

Gaskill makes perfect choices in arranging these songs ­ his voice is pure, and clear, but not particularly strong ­ he sings melodies without forcing the issue, and doesn’t fall into the trap of oversinging that many first time singers will exhibit when stepping away from their bands.  “No Love” is a perfect example, where he gets his point across in a very emotional story, yet does so without shouting or straining.  Less is more here.

“L.A. Flight” deals with a recurring theme ­ relationship trouble: “Do you think I care if you think of me,?” and mentions misery, sadness, and pain.  “Faulty Start” speaks of the desire to go off to a new place and start over, but being to enjoy the reality of his situation, since the former is impractical.  

“All the Way Home” is Gaskill at his most Beatlesque, with layered harmonies over acoustic guitar, piano, and a quiet drumbeat.  “Crazy” shows the most range, with vocals ranging from wistful longing to clenched rage, to resignation.  “Walk Alone” might fit best into the King’s X catalog, with a similar sound to some of their “Please Come Home Mr. Bulbous” material.

Gaskill lyrics eave some room for interpretation, with poetry that at times ranges from majestic, mystical, Tolkien-like rhythm, to almost nonsensical, “this rhymes so let’s use it” Jim Morrison style lines.   In all, this rarely detracts from the overall tone, but may produce some periodical head shaking.

Still, though, Come Somewhere is a stirring debut from a performer who has always been underrated as a drummer.  It proves that Jerry Gaskill’s efforts as a singer and writer should not be ignored ­ he does both well, and makes it evident that he is not locked into one style of music-­he meanders through friendly pop to hard rock to trippy emo without missing a beat.

Brian A. Smith
24 April 2004
 

   
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