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Kevin Gilbert


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk/pop

Status:

Final release, thud, 1995, though his estate has released some live and early recordings, most recently The Shaming of the True, 2000.

See also:

The Kevin Gilbert site

The Ectophiles' Guide entries for Giraffe and Toy Matinee, Kevin Gilbert's earlier bands

Comparisons:

Kind of like a male Ani Difranco. (abehrend@direct.ca)

Peter Gabriel or Peter Hammill vocally. (bossert@suddensound.com)

Bruce Cockburn. (woj@smoe.org)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

He was previously a part of Giraffe and the short-lived project Toy Matinee, along with producer/songwriter Patrick Leonard; together they put out a good eponymous pop album about four years ago, and then dissolved. (dixon@physics.Berkeley.EDU)

Mr. Gilbert is the guiding voice of the neo-progressive band Giraffe (they performed the entire Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, costumes and all, at a ProgFest in CA...). He is also a member of the Tuesday Music Club that helped and inspired Sheryl Crow's album. Kevin's voice has a gruff charm reminicent of Peter Gabriel or Peter Hammill (the latter in one of his more in-tune moments). The music is a pleasant blend of clean acoustic pop and mild art-rock influences, and the lyrics are witty; most of all during the opening "when you give your love to me", which could be a Barenaked Ladies song. (bossert@suddensound.com)

He is one of my favorite artists. His music is at times delicate and fragile and at other times it is extremely powerful. His lyrics are always brilliant and many times achingly poignant.
     I recently saw a segment on VH1 Confidential about the tragedy surrounding The Tuesday Night Music Club. My feeling is that that story was slanted in favor of the Sheryl Crow side of the story. However, it does appear that Kevin may have been in a long, slow downward spiral because of the events that happened over the last several years of his life.
     It is truly sad that Kevin did not receive more of the success that it appears that he was after. It is clear that he was fiercely respected by anyone who had the pleasure to work with him. He continues to have a loyal cult following that seems to be growing.
     I saw Kevin Gilbert perform live on several occasions (with Giraffe, with Toy Matinee). The most memorable performance for me was when he performed "The Lamb Lies Down" 20th anniversary tribute at the 1994 ProgFest in Los Angeles. I had seen Peter Gabriel and Genesis perform the complete "Lamb" at the Berkeley Community Theatre in 1975. This concert stands as the pinnacle of my concert going experience. It was truly an amazing night! It was really a religious experience for me. The tears were streaming down my cheeks by the end of that concert.
     Seeing Kevin's performance created the strongest sense of déjà vu within me. His performance was nearly as electrifying as Peter Gabriel's performance from 20 years earlier. The only difference for me, from an emotional point of view, was that the Genesis performance was a complete musical, theatrical, and multimedia event that engulfed and overwhelmed me.
     Kevin was a very charismatic and incredibly talented musician and performer. It is very sad that he is no longer with us. (wpm@value.net)

Comments about live performance:

He was kind of like a male Ani Difranco--just him and his guitar, and a drummer who was hand drumming, shaking some sort of egg-like percussion toy and playing bass drum and cymbal with his feet, all at the same time... very cool! (abehrend@direct.ca)

Hmmmm, it's amazing how two people can see the same performer and walk away with entirely different opinions. I saw Kevin last week and I was entirely unimpressed with him. His music was ordinary, and when he tried to be...controversial, he only sounded rather silly. He is not the lyricist Ani Difranco is, with her amazing ability to make a point when one needs to be made. In fact, someone needs to tell him that using the word 'lesbian' in the same sentence with 'Tonya Harding naked' just doesn't make a song daring. :-) (guetzlaf@appsdiv.cray.com)

Recommended first album:

thud

Recordings:


thud

Release info:

1995--PRA

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Kevin Gilbert

Produced by:

Bill Bottrell, Kevin Gilbert, Dan Schwartz

Comments:

Fresh from his songwriting sessions with the Tuesday Music Club, here's another dollop of smart-alecky pure pop from the former Toy Matinee member. The music's good, but sometimes gets bogged down in overarrangement. It's the lyrics that are his strong point.
     Gilbert did a Todd Rundgren on this album, producing, writing, engineering and playing almost all the instruments. Good stuff.
     I rather enjoy this. It certainly doesn't break any ground musically, but it's a pleasant enough album, with some rather incisive lyrics. Sometimes self-consciously clever, but pretty solid pop throughout. (dixon@physics.Berkeley.EDU)

I'd never heard of Kevin Gilbert before, but now I recommend him and his allbum thud without hesitation. Folksinger type with musically straightforward songs with wicked, cynical, hysterically funny and terribly serious lyrics. (dmw@mwmw.com)

i picked up kevin gilbert's thud on a recent shopping spree, mostly because i liked the toy matinee tracks i've heard.
     unfortunately, i did not like the album at all. it's nothing like toy matinee--rather than intricate, progressive pop, i get bland, too-clever-for-his-own-good, singer-songwriter schmaltz pap.
     yuck.
     take bruce cockburn, water-down the acidic overtones, take out the good musicianship and you're left with the aptly named thud. (woj@smoe.org)


Thud Live at the Troubadour

Release info:

1999

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Kevin Gilbert fans

Group members:

Kevin Gilbert--bass, vocals

Guest artists:

Nick D'Virgilio--drums, vocals
Russ Parish--guitar, vocals
David Kerzner--keyboards
Satnam Ramgotra--tabla, mouth drums

Produced by:

Kevin Gilbert, John Cuniberti and Nick D'Virgilio; Jon Rubin, Executive Producer

Comments:

The Live Thud CD is excellent. It includes live versions of songs primarily from Thud. It also contains a unique and powerful take on Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir". Another highlight is the intense, "dire, depressing and cynical" (Kevin's own words described it this way) "Miss Broadway". (wpm@value.net)

The Shaming of the True

Release info:

2000

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Kevin Gilbert fans

Group members:

Kevin Gilbert--bass, vocals

Comments:

I will offer my opinion. I am a great admirer of Kevin Gilbert's artistry. He was a brilliant musician, songwriter, and lyricist. His music and lyrics were always beautifully poignant. I do find The Shaming of the True to follow in that path of excellence. However, it is obvious to me that Kevin had allowed himself to get into a very dark and bitter space by the time that he wrote this CD. Many of the songs in this rock opera reflect great irony and some deep-seeded bitterness. (wpm@value.net)

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Entry last updated 2005-11-16 01:28:16.
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