Spencer Kilpatrick might be his own best critic.
The Reno, Nev.-based singer-songwriter, in releasing his latest single, “You Feel Like Nevada To Me,” on Christmas Day via Soundcloud, wrote the following:
“I initially didn’t care for the predictability and kitschiness of the tune, but over the last month or so the melody has popped in and out of my head and the chords have become comfortable under my fingers. I’ve decided to embrace its ‘cuteness’ and release it here on Christmas — a holiday with no shortage of its own kitsch … I like the rain. And I like that it takes me a second to get to that tricky chord in the bridge. And as I get older I find that I like ‘doing’ more than waiting as I’ve spent a lot of time doing the latter.”
He’s right. What more can you say? He’s right. The tune is a little kitschy and a little cute, its turns of course a little too apparent and its turns of phrase perhaps too obvious. But it’s instantly, instantly hummable and it’s got a great repeating refrain, not to mention a heartbreaking delivery — think Reclinerland’s “My New York” by way of acoustic guitar and a voice chiseled down by a few too many beers. (“California just can’t compare/ You feel like Nevada to me,” he laments repeatedly.)
Kilpatrick’s “Lungs” single was one of the pleasant surprises of 2018, a piece of acoustic-soul gold in the vein of the best Amos Lee out there. On the new single, he elicits comparisons to Lee again and maybe, dare I say, a much-toned-down Joe Cocker. These men are giants and the fact that Kilpatrick draws comparisons shouldn’t be played down or discarded. Kilpatrick’s got a soulfulness in his delivery that separates him from a lot of the folksy troubadors out there. And it surely makes him worthy of a listen. — Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, Jan. 9, 2019