Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Music Review: Keith Munslow's Exclamation Point!

I've known Keith Munslow for just about 30 years  I first met him in 1991 when he was performing for the Big Nazo Puppets, and I spent a short stint with them performing as a masked actor/puppeteer.  We probably did 8-10 gigs together as part of Big Nazo.  (Hmmmm... thinking back on it, I mostly did holiday themed shows with Keith.  We did a Halloween show, a Thanksgiving show, a Christmas show, and oh, yeah, a fair housing show at a Catholic School.  Is fair housing a holiday?  It definitely should be!)

Keith is a brilliant musician and performer, and over the years I've watched him grow as an artist.  I'm a big fan of his work.  I've seen musicals he's written, watched improvs he's directed, rocked out to his blues bands, and listened with delight to his children's music.  I've also eaten at diners with him at 3 am.  When I was directing the now defunct Bright Night Providence, the New Year's Festival, I hired Keith as often as I could, both for his kid's programming and then at night, if he was available, for an adult swing/blues program.  

What makes Keith a great performer are two things:  his virtuosity as a musician and his sense of humor.   Both of these are on display on his latest family music album Exclamation Point! 

Keith manages to meld a number of different musical styles, and makes them original and entertaining and fun to listen to.  On this album, he's got jazz numbers, show tunes, a tango, straight hard rock, and probably a few other styles I don't know.  All of them are original, and feature a combination of Keith's clever word play, bouncing rhythms, and sense of play.  

I'm especially fond of Drummin' Is Free, which is a rap/drum corp song (Keith is known as a piano player, but he is an excellent drummer.  One of the funniest improvs I ever saw him do was him playing Marching band cadences as the folk song of his people.  I was in high school band too, and they are folk songs!)  

 I also really like Waiting For The Pizza, a song that is a rollicking western number about anticipation and the meta song These Are Not The Words, which is about a guy who doesn't know the words to the song. I know that feeling really well!

There are 11 songs on the album, and all of them are worth listening to and will get your toes tapping and the muscles of your mouth curling upward into a smile.  And that's Keith's real virtuosity-- his ability to entertain.

You can purchase Exclamation Point! on Apple Itunes or directly from Keith on his website.  (and while you are there, check out his other albums, and songs including the newly released Poultry-geist sensation Ghost Chicken, and Benny's The Musical, a theatrical love album to one of Rhode Island's most beloved stores (that sadly has gone belly up)

Keith Munslow & Empire Revue: Bennys The MusicalKeith Munslow:  Ghost Chicken 

No comments: