ROB KAYES, “L.A. SESSIONS”
Rob Kayes has no intention of being branded by any one musical style. The singer/songwriter has been performing for 20+ years—polishing his wares since age 13—including his most recent tour that blanketed 15 nations.
He at last offers debut full-length “L.A. Sessions” on RMC Records, produced by Peter Rafelson (Madonna, Britney Spears, Erika Jayne). The 10-song sonic triptych effectively conquers so many musical genres that your head will spin (with delight, that is): pop, rock, folk, hints of jazz and more. Throughout, Kayes serenades with a sweet lullaby in one track and in the next, offers a funky madcap frolic that conjures “The Munsters.”
Who dares to do that anymore? The common thread: melodies that stick fast and stay locked in the memory bank, alongside instrumentation that keenly matches every arrangement. And it goes without saying that his vocals—sometimes roughshod and gravelly and at other times tender as a puppy lick—are Kayes’ ultimate gift.
Launch single “I Don’t Care” is a perfect example of the troubadour’s wondrous versatility, with a splash of reggae amid breezy percussion that comes off like a day at the beach, as he sings: “I don’t care if the bills are piling at my door, cause I’m not payin’ them anymore/And no way I will be blue, cause you got me and I got you.”
Critical favorite “Naked” conjures The Doors, with its sensual harpsichord and driving percussion, while “Never Had Her Heart” is a madcap pedal to the metal pop anthem (think Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs”), bringing in that wickedly playful “Munsters”-esque thematic core. “Tonight” is the ultimate pop anthem on “L.A. Sessions,” with its giddy-up tempo and joyous harmony-drenched vocal. Hello, radio?
Another should-be emphasis single is “Once Again,” a lovely acoustic ballad that builds into an emotive tour de force where Kayes laments, “Sometimes we fight, don’t sleep well at night/I don’t know how the space came between us now, I’m ready to love you once again.”
Album opener “Headed To L.A.” offers a rollicking, 8-cylinder guitar-fueled pop/rock template, which conjures Bruce’s “Hungry Heart,” while the album closes with commanding pop/country should-be hit “It’ll Be Alright,” as easy as Sunday morning and as breezy as a day in the park, that will leave the masses hand in hand, swaying in unison.
While the L.A.-based singer has fostered a fan base wherever he performs, garnering radio play here and there on corporate-controlled FM radio alongside tracks licensed for film & TV, we now have his consummate talent locked in on one collection. “L.A. Sessions” serves as Rob Kayes’ proper introduction to the masses to recognize that it is still possible to showcase a lifetime of the musical influences that we have all enjoyed, all delivered with sweet-sounding skill and savvy.
Chuck Taylor has been an Arts & Entertainment journalist for 25 years, including nearly 15 years at Billboard magazine as a Senior Writer & Editor.