Because Kingfish is a musical collective that is constantly in flux and forever evolving, there has always been a certain mystique about the band and its music. The one constant band member has been leader Matthew Kelly, and his harp, guitar, and vocals shine on the record. Kelly's old friend Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Ratdog, The Other Ones) sings and plays guitar on four songs for this record. Also present are Steve Kimock (Kingfish, Zero, The Other Ones), Jenni Muldaur, Mookie Siegel (Ratdog), original Kingfish guitarist Robbie Hoddinott, amazing lead guitarist Barry Sless and about a dozen other Bay Area stalwarts.
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Matthew Kelly has been for over 25 years the heart and soul of Kingfish. He was also a founding member of Ratdog, a member of Bobby And The Midnites and has appeared and recorded with the Grateful Dead. Sundown on the Forest not only reflects his musicianship (on vocals, guitar, and harmonica), production skills, and solid grounding in blues and Americana music, but also showcases a fresh contemporary sound.
Bob Weir, member of the Grateful Dead, longtime friend and musical cohort of Matthew's in Ratdog, Bobby And The Midnites and Kingfish, shares the vocal spotlight on this recording. His edgy lead vocal on Padlock Cufflinks is classic Weir and his vocals on the title song, Sundown on the Forest, speak to his own long term commitment to environmental issues. Weir also sings on the psychedelic romp Starship Ride.
The late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead also lends his virtuosic guitar to the album. His performance on the song Ridin' High is a true gem that has not been heard since it was recorded in 1973 by Kelly and songwriter Bill Cutler. He plays guitar on the whole song, and his extended outtro solo is truly one of the best Garcia solos ever captured in the studio. It is amazing to hear his voice from the past shine through so strongly on this new record.
Jenni Muldaur's vocal interpretations on Hurt Enough, Burning in My Heart, and Eyes of the Night are stunning. The daughter of musicians Maria and Geoff Muldaur, she has been a vibrant part of the Bay Area music scene since her early teens and has carved out her own musical identity.
Barry Sless (Guitar and pedal steel guitar) and Mookie Siegel (keyboards) are longtime Kingfish members. Both are outstanding musicians who also play with the David Nelson Band. Mookie has also toured as a member of Ratdog. Barry Sless' amazing guitar work is a huge part of the current Kingfish sound, his unbelievable country and blues chops and blistering sound are the highlight of many tunes on the record.
Danny Rio, another longtime Kingfish associate, has developed a unique contemporary vocal sound firmly rooted in blues and rock. His lead vocal on Sundown on the Forest lends special meaning to this environmental anthem.
Robbie Hoddinott an original member of Kingfish and brilliant guitarist, shared his amazing gift with Kingfish from the very beginning. His lead guitar on Burning in My Heart and Eyes of the Night will delight long time fans.
Steve Kimock (guitar) and Bobby Vega (bass), best known as founding members of Zero and KVFW, have shared the stage with Matthew Kelly many times. Steve played and toured with Kingfish and recently with The Other Ones. Their spectacular playing adds another highlight to this project.
Songwriter Bill Cutler, who has often collaborated with Matthew in the past, sings the newly recorded and arranged version of his song Ridin' High. He was present when Jerry Garcia recorded the guitar track on Ridin' High in 1973 and assisted Matthew in tastefully editing Garcia's guitar track and his own original vocal track into the newly recorded tracks for the song.
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