RATING: 4 CHET BAKERS
UPDATE: Thank you to Jane in the comments for letting me know you can buy Kane's "Live in London" on his website. The link has been added.
UPDATE II: Thank you to "depoetic" in the comments for letting me know that the Live in London is no longer available at Kane's site, but is available elsewhere.
Christian Kane is an anomaly to me. While I pride myself on enjoying and finding pleasure in all types of music, whether it's hip hop, classical, jazz, rock, new age, electronic or whatever, the one genre that more times than not I just can't get with is country music. I'm not sure why, either.
At first I thought maybe it's because all the country music I've heard (which admittedly isn't that much) is fairly slow paced. However that is not quite it, because much of my favorite music by bands like Pearl Jam, Counting Crows and Stone Temple Pilots are their more mellow tracks.
For whatever the reason, I never really got into country music, although there were a sprinkling of songs here and there that I liked. I always dug "The Dance" and "Thunder Rolls" by Garth Brooks, for instance.
Then I discovered Christian Kane's music and was taken by surprise. It's, as is described on a live recording of Kane that I have, "A little bit of country, a little bit of rock n' roll but it's all soul". And that's a very good description of it.
Most people probably know Christian Kane through his acting roles. He played lawyer Lindsey McDonald on the television series "Angel" (as one of only two actors to be in the first and last episode of the show), and his current role as Elliot on "Leverage" where he plays the hitter, or muscle of the group.
I had never watched Angel but got into the show Leverage, as I've always liked shows like this, such as the BBC series "Hustle" which has a similar idea, only in Leverage there is a moral reason for what the group does. In Hustle they steal money from the greedy and powerful, but not for any sense of right or wrong, but just because it's there.
In Leverage they protect and represent those who have no voice. Unfortunately in this day and age there are no shortage of storylines of the poor and defenseless being taken advantage of by those in power.
So after watching the show I was looking up info on the actors as I had never seen any of them in other things with the exception of Timothy Hutton who plays the leader of the band of merry men. That's when I realized that Kane was a singer.
This is around the time that Kane released his EP on Amazon and Itunes of five songs from his forthcoming album.
As I said before I'm not a Country music fan, but I thought he was a cool guy in the interviews I've seen and I enjoyed the show so I figured what the hell? I bought his EP on Amazon's MP3 service and was shocked because I really enjoyed it.
Kane's music is definitely country but it has a strong rock influence to it and a surprising amount of soul to it. And I don't necessarily mean "soul" as in soul music, but more of the integrity and soul of the music. When you listen to it it has a meaning. You are listening to the lyrics and imagining that this isn't just a song someone wrote, but the words have a strong connection to the person singing.
The EP, while short at about 15-20 minutes was a good taste of his style with the rockin' first single "House Rules", "Whiskey in Mind" and "American Made" and the more somber and serious "Making Circles" and "Let me Go".
My favorite track is "Making Circles" which I think so many people can relate to. We've all had those relationships where it seemed to be doomed. You both got to that point where things are only going down hill and you end up going round and round, trying to hurt each other, despite the love you both have for each other.
After hearing the EP I went searching for more of his music, but unfortunately it's almost all out of print. I lucked into finding some of his older stuff online, and they are very interesting to listen to. One of them, which is a live recording of them in London was a very fun listen. It seemed to be in a small club and it was this recording which had, what I think is, Christian Kane's best song he's done, called "Spirit Boy".
Kane, who is of Native American ancestry, tells a fantastically entertaining story of a Cherokee who falls in love with a girl in town, much to her father's chagrin. Things don't go well, and he ends up on the run with her with the law on his trail. This is a great example of the "Soul" that permeates throughout Kane's music.
There's a heart and a soul to his music, and as I said when you listen you feel that there's a serious connection between himself and the words he's singing. In this day and age of people not writing their own lyrics, that's a shining example of his appeal.
The "Live in London" release,
It's little things like that that ingratiates an artist with the crowd and makes them feel that he's one of them. And the huge appeal to Kane is that he IS one of the crowd. In a world of artists and athletes and actors who come off as assholes, or they come off with that fake "I'm just a regular guy" type of spiel, Kane actually does seem to embody that real aspect of being a local guy who happened to hit it big with a career in movies and music.
If you can find any Christian Kane music, I recommend you do so. You can go to Amazon and get his EP by clicking HERE or you can scour the internet for his older releases that may still be for sale somewhere, but watch out because there is apparantly another band named "Kane" which has nothing to do with Christian, despite the identical band name.
I may end up posting my copies of the out of print stuff, if I can figure out whether or not that would be allowed. Don't wanna step on anyone's toes, despite it being impossible to find now.
Here's some clips below of his music, and some of him on Leverage.