Local songwriter Drew Kohl hashed it out for a while as a member of local bluegrass outfit The Four Thieves before deciding to strike out on his own. His debut solo recording, out this past November, features six tracks of meaty, ‘grass-infused folk. It’s alternately plaintive and playful, and sometimes it’s both; check out “Time Is On My Side,” a darkly Dylanesque meditation on life and death.
The next track, “On My Way,” flirts with similar themes, and Kohl’s vocal delivery here is equally Zimmerman-y—in fact, it bears even more of a striking resemblance to that of Kristian Matsson, the singer-songwriter who performs under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth and has made a living aping Dylan’s early, reedy vocal delivery.
Like the talented Matsson, Kohl updates his delivery with enough of an odd, modern edge to set it apart from its predecessors. Still, the main appeal of this debut album is its familiarity. The record, filled as it is with strong, subtle tunes like “Singing For You,” may not break any new ground, but it’s grounded in tradition enough to remain palatable throughout.
Drew Kohl plays WUOG’s Live in the Lobby on Thursday, Jan. 24, and at Hendershot’s Coffee Bar on Saturday, Jan. 26.
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