Dolls Of Highland by Kyle Craft on Sub Pop Records

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.

Listen to Dolls Of Highland

Buy Dolls Of Highland

Video for Eye Of A Hurricane

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