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Feb 202013

Kevin Neidig – I’ve Been There

review by Paul Smith (
February 2013

neidigA casual listen to I’ve Been There, Kevin Neidig’s latest set, underlines his signature sound—a variety of guitar playing styles ranging from whimsical fun to a slow steady driving beat—and everything in between. His vocals run the gamut from baritone to falsetto—depending on the mood of the song.

A second or third listen reveals a rich texture of lyrics that contradict themselves and force yet further listens to fully understand them. “I Can’t Go Back… so I look ahead without a way to go,” “I’ve Been There… but I can’t say where I’ve been,” and “I Need A Connection… There’s a freedom in surrendering.”  These are markers, clues, to the ironies of the lives we lead.

“She’s Having A Good Cry Now” is all about fully embracing sadness to be able to fully let go to move on to the next euphoria. “Boundary” is a reminder of the need to set limits in order to not limit one’s potentials. “Drop In My Cup” signals the last hope and the first step towards new hope.

In “Rain Down” and “Peace Be With You” – Kevin’s voice drops down a few octaves to convey a somber tone that builds to a religious intensity with a righteous conclusion only possible when the pain is allowed to be released and the tears to be shed.

There’s a new payoff after each listen to this set. It’s like a group of relative strangers who interact on a long journey and gradually shed their individual boundaries along the way to open themselves up to deeper understanding. In “I’ve Been There,” each song has its own meaning and would not need to be tied to another to stand its own but, the whole set is even more valuable than the sum of its songs.

There’s something to be said for enjoying the imagery at face value but to fully get to know Kevin’s latest set, one need to go on the whole journey and to interact with the other passengers along the way.