Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I went to see the Drive By Truckers in Richmond, VA on November 10th and 11th and the opening act was Kyle Craft. I knew nothing about this fellow at all. When he took the stage on November 10th, he was a tall, thin blonde haired fella with a 70s style hair do. There were five other members in his band including both a piano player and a keyboard player. He opened with the lead song off of his new album, Eye Of A Hurricane and it was clear from the opening note that Mr. Craft is something special.
The fact that I remembered the song and was able to recall it after only one listen speaks volumes for Kyle and his band. That is not an easy feat for me. A song had to really stand out and be memorable. Well, Eye Of A Hurricane is indeed that. After seeing Kyle and his band open for the Drive By Truckers two nights in a row, I was compelled to write a review of his 2016 debut release Dolls Of Highland.
I would describe Kyle Craft’s musical style as 70s glam pop. A cross between performers/bands such as Queen, David Bowie, T Rex, and even a little Meatloaf. I rebelled against this type of music for over 30 years. After hearing Kyle and the talent that surrounded him, I am changing my opinion. While elements of all of those aforementioned performers are evident when I hear Kyle Craft, he is not a clone, but a keen student of these performers. He is able to take pieces and parts and create something new and unique. It certainly helps that Kyle has an amazing voice and a dynamic stage presence.
In addition to Eye of A Hurricane, I remembered him playing the title track, Dolls Of Highland, which is also a brilliant track. Kyle’s voice is so strong and unique that he has the ability to make every song a hit based on his sheer talent alone. Jane Beat The Reaper follows Dolls Of Highland on the album and is a perfect accompaniment. This a very happy, upbeat number with strong vocals and plenty of keyboard and piano fills that make this song a perennial rocker. Balmorhea, from that I recall, was not played live, but is a magical song. There is also a lovely harmonica part which Craft belts out as well. A multi instrument playing, multi tasker. Definitely a credit to Kyle’s many talents.
Craft may not be a household word at this stage of his career, but he is destined to be. Just seeing him for five minutes on stage convinced me that he has the X factor to become a star. In addition to the material, which is great, Craft has that stage presence that makes him easy to remember and impossible to forget.