Positivity and musical expertise shine on Kevin Thomas Band’s ‘A New Heart’
Thomas' fifth studio album drops on March 29
Some musicians bleed through their songs, releasing pure emotion through every note, and then others instead focus on getting the sound just “so.”
Indie singer/songwriter Kevin Thomas is the latter. He won’t blow you away with that raw emotion that overpowers everything upon first listen, but, that’s not his bag. He clearly creates a more professional, thoughtful set of tunes.
On his band’s new album “A New Heart,” Thomas, a San Diego-based artist, said he took a different approach from his past few releases in that he focused on making songs that encapsulated optimism in both musical structure and lyrical content.
“The album is not only the culmination of my own dramatic personal transformation, but also a response to the discordant echoes from our society. The angst driven rebellious music that was needed so much in decades past has served its noble purpose, a purpose I fully rejoiced in; but now what is needed is positivity, healing, joy, and love. This is what the world is calling for now, and this is what “A New Heart” is all about,” he writes in the album’s release material.
The Kevin Thomas Band does this by leaning on funky, folk-centric rock music that complements his vocals perfectly. It’s little surprise to find that Thomas not only is a talented musician, he’s also an academically accomplished one, having graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the world-renowned Musicians Institute in Hollywood. He’s also a lead faculty member at the San Diego School of Rock.
The positivity on each track is admirable and is a rare thing to find sometimes. But, Thomas is able to share that energy with ease, whether he’s singing about “Seeing the big picture like a child” or “stepping out of your comfort zone,” it’s laser-focused with great effect.
The standout track for me has to be “High on Chocolate.” It’s cheeky, probably has the strongest hook of all of the songs, and in all honesty, how many rock songs are all about the awesomeness of chocolate??
While Thomas has established a unique voice, if you’re looking for comparisons, he’s somewhat similar to the Dave Matthews Band, Michael Franti, Ben Folds Five and a bit like the amazing Ben Harper.
Thomas’s vocal style isn’t going to win over everyone, but, he makes the most of his natural abilities and the hard work he’s clearly put into each of his songs. It might sound effortless, but, much like Lady Gaga mentioned at the Oscars earlier this year, it takes a TON of work to make any kind of music, and the work to make these tracks original, catchy and optimistic is worth hearing.
While there aren’t many things to be critical of on “A New Heart,” there’s several moments where the songs are a little TOO laid back. As mentioned above, if you’re seeking an album that pulls out all the feels, you might not find that here, but you will find a fun set of tracks that are tightly woven together and make the most of what they’re trying to do.
Thomas and his band perform around the San Diego area with his solo project and as an in-demand sideman. He’s extensively toured the U.S. and Europe, and also is the author of the book “Melody Madness;” is the founder and CEO of the songwriting education company, Songwriting Planet; and locally, and worldwide via Skype, as a one-on-one instrumental instructor teaching lessons in guitar, bass, singing, piano, ukulele, songwriting, and music composition.