In 1998, a collision between two individually accomplished musicians, Christian Kane and Steve Carlson, formed what is destined to become a juggernaut of country music in the future. Borrowing bits and pieces from every music genre and adding heartfelt personalized lyrics that ring true to some part of every one’s life it’s impossible to comprehend why they are not already huge stars. They are a regular draw at the Hollywood’s infamous Viper Room, have a publishing contract with EMI, and won a spot on the Florence Arizona main stage in the 2005 Country Thunder Young Guns Contest.
With the 2002 release of their self-titled, self-released album, Kane was poised on the edge of the “new country sound” ready to take the world by storm. With a sound running the gamut of pop, rock, blues and country they could have landed on any one of the Billboards hot 100. By some quirk of fate they were left in the wake of the wave that crashed country music onto the R&B and Popular music charts. Fortunately they got out in the desert of Florence and played center stage waiting to ride the next wave in.
Originally heading their website with the tag line “This ain’t your mama’s country!” they hit the nail on the head as far as describing their own particular brand of ‘outlaw country’. It’s certainly not the Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, and Alabama I remember when my mother and her contemporaries would play their vinyl records on their stand-alone stereos that doubled as buffet tables. In light of world events and heartfelt patriotism they chose to leave this slogan behind and instead brought the ballad America High to rain down on their audience. In this synchronized motion of spirit, soul, and sincerity they produced a song that plays on the heartstrings of every American. Keeping with the sentiment in which it was written, they made this track available to the public at no charge on their website, kanemusic.com.
My two favorite songs – I am hard pressed to choose so two is a good compromise – are Carolina Rain and The Chase. Both have clean, upbeat country rhythms and just a hint of rock and roll. Christian’s voice is amazing, a little rasp, a little country, a little edge, perfect for conveying his particular brand of love stories. As I live in testosterone land the boys of course disagree with my choices going for the heavier sound of Spirit Boy. I can’t say that’s a bad choice either. It invokes the heart of the wild with its primitive drumming and the tale of wild-west style clandestine lovers who make a break for Mexico.
Without question one of the most overplayed CD’s in our household is Kane Acoustic Live In London. Not only does it contain our favorites from their studio album Kane but also six previously unreleased songs and the back-story on all of them. As if their music wasn’t endearing enough you get to hear them talk about the writing process, which provides you with the smallest inkling as to what makes them so powerful. They are humble, honest and good-hearted throughout. One song that quickly became a staple on car rides is Mary Can You Come Outside, about a neighbor who was being abused by her boyfriend, who was eventually dispatched by Christian because he just had to do something, “This girl never talked to me again but I don’t care ’cause they broke up after that.” Without the back-story I doubt the dark lyric would have become a favorite but knowing Christian stood up for her and she may now have a real life with a respectful man makes it endearing. Not a bad message for my own boys to be hearing loud and clear. I would be hard pressed to find another CD everyone in my family likes equally well.
Steve Carlson is a tremendous guitar talent with a distinctive rasp all his own and has released three albums separate from Kane, most recently Groovin’ On The Inside. If you want to be in a music video here is your chance, Steve is looking for video of you singing along with him to his first single. What better way to acknowledge the weight of your fans than by including them?
Christian Kane seems to spend his free time in front of the camera. His most recognized role is as Lindsey McDonald in the television series Angel, now in syndication. He’s also been in many movies; Second Hand Lions and Summer Catch come to mind as well as the television mini-series Into The West and Crossfire Trail.
No matter what they are doing they are doing it with heart and soul and dignity and that seems to make all the difference. Everything I have encountered by them has been of the quality that incorporating those three ingredients produces.