Kenny Dubman’s Forthcoming Conflicted LP Doesn’t Disappoint
Kenny Dubman’s album cover for his latest release, Conflicted, tells a lot about the music on this project that’ll be released April 29, 2022 (on a date that is the 30 year anniversary of an occurrence that has infamously gone down in American history). Hell, the same goes for the title.
But the cover really illustrates his whole style. It’s depicted above this text, a handful of hundreds on an arm tatted with the constitutional phrasing of “We The People” that’s crossed with another hand holding ammunition on an arm tattered with “Live Free Or Die”.
His music’s dealing with themes that are quintessentially American, as rough edged and timeless as his vocal delivery, and with about as many different stances as the choice of instrumentation populating this work.
Granted, his instrument of choice is unambiguously the guitar—like that’s really saying something. There’s a sundry of guitars on this album, from the traditional electric and acoustic variety to wiry renditions of these and something that sounds like the sort of guitars Stevie Wonder was working on “Inner Visions”.
The final of these is found on “Beautiful Like You”, which seemingly goes from dealing with the wonders of a woman to possibly the same sort of feeling for substances spawning addiction. What’s really beautiful about this cut, however, is the foregoing guitar, which plays the back during the verses and even some of the hooks before he dazzles you with it nearly unfettered (could be some keyboard string sounds atop it) on a breakdown just right for sampling.
It’s his propensity for playing almost any kind of guitar of choice with a vocal style that is somewhat reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s—textured, been around the block a few times, and with the perfect blend of a hint of shouting with fully animated singing. It sounds of cigarette smoke, firearms, perhaps, and more than a handful of colloquialisms such as “what goes around sho’ comes around” on the album’s opener, “Old Dog” (which drops as a single on January 28).
Plus his style shifts from rugged to smooth, the latter of which is found on a hell of a topic cut in “Modern Day Jesus”. Dubman’s musings range from “the evils of mankind has catalyzed and paralyzed his mind” to “let not all we do be in vain/let the beauty outweigh the pain”.
This confluence makes for a serious album requiring devoted listening to unearth all the gems the artist is spouting all over it—and playing with his guitars.