People who’ve heard the estimable singer Keith Horton at taverns or wedding receptions have no doubt that he can render R&B tunes like Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” with delicious energy. Yet I’m not sure they realize Horton has written a smoky set of tunes that are on Spotify and other locations on the new album “Finding Kayho.”
Having listened to the tunes repeatedly over a period of several months, I can call it a slow burn – a set of songs whose aim is not to slap you with pop hooks. These tunes have sweetness and depth that emerges over multiple listens. Horton said, “It is definitely not the sound people know me for.”
The Keith Horton Band and friends, including producer Shawn Stroope, have created an impeccable set of tracks. Careful listening is rewarded by the quiet certitude of these players.
Drummer Danyelle Bryant plays with the taste associated with a triple fudge cupcake. Keyboard player Tre’ Mack is capable of refinement as well as muscle. Bass lines by both Wayne Barksdale and Stroope hide in the groove and function as crystal stairs.
“I can walk away,” is a grand, mid-tempo paean to romance. “Until the end” is a quietly-raised glass to bittersweet love – with a heart-breaking sax solo. “Weakness,” subtitled “Little Black Dress,” is based on a jazzy guitar figure from Horton. “Atlanta moan” is a traditional blues sung with riverine righteousness. Then there’s another version of “Weakness,” one designed to fill the dance floor and make a roomful of people bob their heads.
And there’s one more track, a haunting solo guitar piece called “Purge.”
Horton has relocated to Nashville. He said, “I went through a bit of a rough period and decided that I needed a change of scenery and some new memories. The album was kind of the beginning of my rebuilding.”
And added, “You will probably understand more once you hear it.”
Keith Horton Band will perform in Shreveport Friday, January 11, 6:30 p.m. at Superior Bar ‘N’ Grill and Saturday, January 12 7:00 p.m. at Rydaz Bar, Eatery & Events.