King of Love

Singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum resurfaces on his eighth Curb release with an impressive, soulful, 15-cut collection, 14 of which were self-penned.

Singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum resurfaces on his eighth Curb release with an impressive, soulful, 15-cut collection, 14 of which were self-penned. The sound is both adult and contemporary, from the quietly insistent "Every Time I Look in Your Eyes," the easy rollin' soul of "On Her Own Time," and the superb "Takin' My Time" to the atmospheric groove of "The Way She Loves Me" and the stellar, gospel-tinged "The Carpenter's Way" (with Guy Clark). There is far more to Ketchum than just his sensitive side: "Run Loretta Run" is brassy barroom funk in a Delbert vein, the cocky title cut is powered by an insinuating Bo Diddley beat, and the intoxicating "Evangeline" and thumpin' "Too Much of Nothing" steam and bubble. A strangely effective interlude in "The Ruby and the Rose" is like Andy Griffith meets the theme from Survivor. Later, Ketchum's tenor is crystal clear on the stirring "The Skies Over Dublin," and he closes the set with the gentle, parental "Angel Song." This is one great record and a welcome return.—RW