Willy Porter review…May 20, 2015…

WILLY PORTER

HUMAN KINDNESS

WEASEL RECORDS  WSL 1401

FREEDOM–CHIPPEWA BOOTS–ELOUISE–HUMAN KINDNESS–CONSTELLATION–WALKING WITH THE MAN–A LOVE LIKE THIS–THIS TRAIN–MY BIRD CAN SING–TRY TO FORGET–ROSES IN THE RAIN

Wisconsin-based Willy Porter is a largely self-taught musician who’s also a fantastic writer  whose style and lyrics show an innate maturity that connects well with listeners.  His tenth CD is a concept album entitled “Human Kindness,” with the underlying theme that the milk of human kindness continues to flow and flow freely.

He starts off with a heartland rocker, the anti-slavery message of “Freedom.”  An ode to a lover, the breezy “Elouise,” shows why she’s “evidence the best things are free,” while “A Love Like This,” with duet vocals from Carmen Nickerson, recalls the halcyon days of Stax and Motown with this soulful, horn-rich arrangement.

“Walking With The Man” might be the bluesiest cut herein, with its dark, brooding groove where we are reminded that there’s always someone watching over us.  “This Train” is Willy’s “People Get Ready,” of sorts,  because “this train is bound for glory,  and this train is rolling  fast.”  The set closes with the sweet love story, “Roses In The Rain,” with fiddle from Randy Sabien.

We had two favorites, too.  The simple things, such as a “broken remote,” and a pair of “all broken-in Chippewa Boots” are the things missed most as his lover leaves.  And, Martin Barre, of the Jethro Tull band, adds guitar on “Try To Forget,” when, in a relationship, sometimes it is best to focus on things that can be changed as opposed to those that cannot.

Willy Porter is also a well-known philanthropist, working with domestic abuse shelters in Wisconsin, as well as the Kids 4 Peace International, where Middle Eastern and American youth are brought together to promote future peace.  His positive messages in “Human Kindness” will appeal to a wide-ranging fan base!  You can catch him live at the Bluebird Cafe on June 4, 2015, at 9 PM also, in a solo setting.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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