Kevin Dalton and The Tuesday Blooms came to the Red Barn Radio stage in July of 2017, thus starting the beginning of an admiration and musical respect that would blossom. It would grow into an high degree of both admiration and appreciation for this band’s drive, energy and passion and what they truly bring to the music fans of Kentucky and beyond in the form of a live, local, organic and home-grown musical experience from this Somerset band.
I remember asking Kevin that evening if they had a CD and this would be both an on-going question for at least three years accompanied by a personal quest to see if people of the Kentucky music world could possibly encourage Kevin to get a set of twelve of his best originals into a format that could be enjoyed off the stage as well. This would be a question that not only I would ask, but many others, for the past three years that have led us up to this time in history.
Kevin describes this moment in history as “having the weight of Tommy lifted from his shoulders” humorously referencing the fact that his harp player, Tommy Cate, who is one of the many people rowing in Kevin’s musical boat – after playing Kevin’s originals for five years- was constantly on him to complete this CD.
What we all have now is an amazing collection of life experiences that have incubated, formed, molded and been produced into a musical work of art that everyone will enjoy for generations to come. The 12 tracks on this CD serve as mile markers that represent various times in Kevin’s life story in a well-intention order that guide us, the listener, all along this thought provoking path. Themes of relationships, depression, love, anger, friendship, grief, resilience, gratitude and forgiveness all permeate the trajectory of this incredible road map of one man’s life that almost everyone has traveled in some form or fashion over the course of their own life. While the exit signs and destinations are different for all of us, the journey from beginning to end is most likely familiar to all of us as well.
Kevin has put a great deal of thought into how his songs are sequenced on the CD and he has articulated that each song represents a different stop on his life journey. The first three tracks – “The Devil in the Details”, “The Seventh Wind” and “Paper Airplanes” artistically start to form the arc of songs- which to me represent various ways of transporting ourselves in life. “The Devil in The Details”, the oldest of all of the songs on the CD, boasts a classic driving, train sound, brilliantly transformed from paper to the harp by the great Tommy Cate and tells the story of hope that surfaces in one’s own mind when seeking that “big break” that most often destines us as “lucky” and blame of one’s own self when things do not go as planned.
I feel “The Seventh Wind” is Kevin’s sailboat song and the next stop of the journey that began on a train with “Devil in the Details” – in which Kevin proclaims the desire and energy needed to “set your wishes out to sail” and “catch that wind to help you overcome your present circumstances” with the embedded themes of persistence and pure true grit.
The bookend for this first of four major stops of this journey and title track “Paper Airplanes”, is a song Kevin has said was based on a time when he was in the hospital. One of the patients was secretly doing something on paper. Every time Kevin tried to look, he was met by the man swiftly hiding the paper and keeping it from Kevin’s sight. That was until the day Kevin was leaving that the large bodied man tossed Kevin a paper airplane which flew magically in the air, like the feather in Forrest Gump and landed directly in Kevin’s hands. When Kevin opened it, he found an amazing representation of himself drawn with great skill by the man who was hiding the paper from him. Kevin thanked him and started to put it in his pocket. The man firmly instructed him to send it back to the man representing a point in Kevin’s life where he felt all things negative, depression, fear and anxiety leave his body on that simple launch into the air back to the man who had literally stopped him in his tracks with a powerful message.
The next trilogy stretch of the journey, Tracks 4 through 6, is made up of “The Dirt,” “Beneath a Jealous Moon,” and “Wheelhouse.” They represent the art of digging and walking as the mode of transportation to take us through the reflective part of this life journey.
When I asked Kevin what “the dirt” was on the first song in this set, he described a time in life when one realizes they need to give up a relationship that is not working out so the victory cry is to “go and get the shovel right now.” It is a bold proclamation to dig and bury this portion of your life so one can move on to better things. “Sometimes in life, we plant our seeds in the dirt and hope something will grow and sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes you have to dig things up and start over again,” according to Kevin. This song is another brilliant and creative representation of what is so awe-inspiring and introspective about the songwriting acumen of Kevin Dalton.
“Beneath a Jealous Moon” is a song Kevin wrote for his daughter Magnolia. She was born on a Tuesday, thus the name of The Tuesday Blooms. This song is about the exit we take on our life journey where we add the role of “parent” thus the mantra to be present in every moment in the life of a child and to make the best of the time you have because that time goes too fast. The final mile we walk by foot in this three song set is “Wheelhouse,” a song about crossroads and the intersections that surface in life which require us to choose one path or another.
In the next trio of songs, “The Things I Can’t Change”, “Broken Records” and “Bring the Dog” to me, represents a big STOP sign on the journey and a time of pausing and reflecting about what can’t be changed and reclaiming that which we do have full control over leading us back on our journey to live our most honest, genuine and authentic life. “The Things I Can’t Change” features the incredible background vocals of Kelly Caldwell, whose voice just shines on so many of these songs, in ways that can’t be fully described unless you take a listen for yourself. A song of yearning, apology and what Kevin says is the most relatable song on the album- “Broken Records” is in the middle of this set and surfaced when he was trying to rediscover himself and dated someone who constantly commanded him to write her a love song. He – feeling like songwriting is something that cannot be assigned by someone else- finally wrote this song to address this ongoing request thus inviting this person to “find the melody when I’m gone”
The trip to the third stop that bookends this third set embeds a perfect blend of themes around things we can’t change, playing broken records, and settling into the right relationship in which the invitation to move in includes “bringing the dog”. Kevin wrote the song “Bring The Dog” for his girlfriend, Amanda, thus ushering in the final set of the songs on this album that brings the listener further down the road with Kevin as he ushers in a new outlook on his own life and the self discovery that accompanies a new mindset.
So next we fly and we soar…life takes flight…
In the last stop of this four part journey, Kevin offers us the songs “Like a Bird”, “I Ain’t Here” and “Roses and Gypsys” as we get to experience the trademark profound, fun and inspirational sides of Kevin’s songwriting brilliance and expertise. “Like a Bird”, is a song about hope and the optimistic turn needed to take flight. The upbeat “I Ain’t Here” speaks of the displacement that comes as a result of losing ourselves in our passions suggesting that all we are doing at times are “clutching on the faith of Mama’s rosary”.
With such musicians complimenting this band like Kelly, Cory, Benjamin Zimmerman, and Owen Reynolds, Tommy has said is it every musicians dream to play with a band like Kevin Dalton & The Tuesday Blooms because he is with a group of stellar musicians that all are independently sound but when combined, the strength of each brings a privilege unmatched by any other musical experience he has had in his life and one he considers to be a gift from God. The cover art on Kevin Dalton & The Tuesday Blooms CD represents a young boy casting a paper airplane cast flight by the motion of one’s own hand and the hope of a well- orchestrated design and properly assembled product. Kevin has mentioned that as a child he loved the show “Super Friends”. He has compared it to having “Super Friends” with him on stage, like Superman, AquaMan, The Green Lantern…all contributing super powers that make him better than what he feels like he is as a soloist. “It is like the Harlem Globetrotters are in town” – a testament to the confidence he feels in his own ability to write the songs, to plan the orchestration and to assemble the proper team members to make his own ‘Paper Airplane” sail purposefully into the air and, to transport to a destination and to land with the people who can most utilize this vessel in their own lives.
“We must never cease from exploration and at the end of all of our exploring, we will arrive at the place where we began and we will know it for the first time” – T.S Eliot
This beautiful work of musical art reminded me that life is not a sprint – it is a marathon. This timeline collection is composed of what Kevin describes as “mostly journal entries” and when considering the art of crafting the end of this experience, he always knew that “Roses and Gypsies” would be the closing reflection on this album. When he first recorded it, it was a full band extravaganza but ultimately it was decided that Cory White, on piano and Owen Reynolds, on upright bass, would be the only instruments represented on this track with Kevin’s most soulful voice to close the show in a chapter that is the resolution to this entire journey representing the dignity in asking forgiveness, reflection in acknowledging all that is done, the vulnerability in saying goodbye and finally, exercising the discipline of self-reflection of all of our collective experiences to gracefully address the parts of life in closing all doors that no longer serve us – in our own efforts to open new ones in the future.
Click here to find out more about Kevin Dalton and the Tuesday Blooms. Be sure to check them out at one of the many Kentucky music festivals in 2020. Be sure to learn more about Kentucky Country Music’s 2020 Artists to Watch list.
Renee Collins Cobb, M.Ed is the host of “Red Barn Radio”, and Lexington Community Radio’s radio shows/podcasts “Overtones”, “Gray Matters” and “Listen Locally Open Mic Night at The Twisted Cork”. In addition, she is also the President of Collins Consulting Group, LLC, and co-owner with Warren Cobb of Listen Locally, LLC and the 501c3 non-profit organization, Room 17 Productions.