Kevin Gilbert is often overlooked, despite his great contributions to the world of music, as well as to many other musicians. His resume includes such accolades as keyboardist for Eddie Money, engineer for Michael Jackson's album Dangerous, and songwriter for Madonna. He's also credited with the discovery of Sheryl Crow (including a co-writing credit for her first hit, "All I Wanna Do"), who he met when she auditioned for his band at the time, Toy Matinee. It's amazing and saddening then, that most of you probably never knew you were listening to a song he'd written. Even more saddening due to the fact that Kevin passed away in 1996, far before his time. Ironically, within a week his manager was contacted to schedule an audition for him to be Phil Collin's replacement for Genesis, which surely would have given him the attention his work thus far deserved. His early departure, however, resulted in the fact that there are only a handful of people who really strive to help spread his music to new ears. I'm grateful to be fortunate enough to have found his music, and hope that this review will help do a small part in bringing his work to a more people.
leftover from Kevin's work (though not all that's left, I assure you). They range from re-recorded versions of previously released tracks, acoustic renditions, but largely features unheard releases. Compared to Thud and
Shaming..., the songs are more laid back, featuring mainly acoustic guitar and piano work. That is not to say that there isn't any excitement in these discs, as each song presents us with a new addictive melody and turn of phrase (Gilbert's lyricism is eloquent), and changes mood from track to track.
What I connect with most about Kevin's music, and Kevin himself, is that there appears to be little barrier between himself and what he shows you. When artists write songs, they often draw on their own experiences, but display them to you in a way that separates themselves from being in direct view through the lyrics. While Kevin doesn't sing about himself by name, as I suspect he thought people would find it both narcissistic and tiresome, he doesn't falter in showing emotions that many of us are afraid to admit to having. His self-depreciating attitude is notable in songs like "Finally Over You", which explores the low self-esteem of a man who tries to make an ex-girlfriend jealous by parading around with other women who he really doesn't care about, and "God's Been Tapping My Phone", which details a man's desperate attempts to find someone who thinks he's worthwhile. I find these honest and refreshing, bringing me a sense of appreciation for someone who is able to lay themselves out so plainly for us to see.
Though Kevin left us far too soon, we have been fortunate in the fact that he was such a proficient and talented individual. He was gracious enough to leave us these presents that we're able to unwrap and experience, some
for the very first time. While I can hope that they'll soon uncover another album's worth of material accidentally hidden under an old rug, I realize that if this is all that we have of him to experience, it is quite a treasure to have. Kevin Gilbert shared himself with us in each of these songs, opening up and making himself more vulnerable than most people we ever meet will do for us. It's a rare thing that we have here, and people would be wise to take a moment and peek inside. They might just see themselves.
'You're not famous enough to be on the Led Zeppelin tribute."
- Kevin Gilbert, Interview 1995