“Do you remember . . . . the ballad of the past. . . . ”
From the opening question to the last line of their last song, Kentucky Avenue’s second record harkens back to the classic country rock music of 1970s Laurel Canyon, infusing it with their modern Americana spirit. With a nod to Emmylou and Gram, Ballad of the Pastpresents stories of love and longing, loss and loneliness—but not without a notion that enough is enough or miracles are possible. En route to California, their songs travel through the haunted hills of the South, the misty mountains of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and a stop in Asbury Park with a Springsteen cover.
For this second album, Kentucky Avenue is joined once again by Greg Watkins on acoustic and electric bass and by Michael Robert Taylor on violin—both of whom have become regulars in the band’s live performances.
Also featured: Tom Hnatow on pedal steel, banjo, and dobro; John O’Reilly on drums; and Daniel Clarke on piano and organ.
Making this album during the pandemic was certainly a new experience. Under the direction of producer and engineer Mark Williams at Sucker Punch Recording Company, the foundation of each song was recorded well before lockdown. The magic continued to unfold as additional parts were farmed out to faraway places and the band’s Dave Ries got to work on the cover art. Despite the distances, the sound and the spirit of the music all came together, giving shape to the band’s vision for the new record.