Album Review: Kelly Pardekooper – Milk in Sunshine

Kelly Pardekooper

Milk in Sunshine

The musician credits of Kelly Pardekooper’s new album Milk in Sunshine is a who’s who of Eastern Iowa country, folk and blues legends including Bo Ramsey, Dave Zollo, Dave Moore, Pieta Brown and Radoslav Lorkovic.

Milk in Sunshine is a massive 24-song CD and/or vinyl LP package encompassing 10 new songs with a bonus 16-song “greatest hits” of Kelly Pardekooper.

But, Pardekooper’s signature barstool blues makes every song in his catalog essential. A new song-like album opener “She Moves” shares the same blistering Exile on Main St.-style swagger that he brought to songs like “Fly on the Wall” from his 2000 album Johnson County Snow or the title track from his 2007 album Brand New Bag. The delicate strumming and quiet, high-pitched vocals on Yonder‘s “So Lovely” and “Where’s The Love” evoke the style of Elliott Smith and will give listeners a satisfying sampling of his range.

Even though Milk in Sunshine spans his whole recorded career, the album is remarkably balanced without dramatic swings in production and performanc. It’s a testament to the fact that honesty begets timelessness.

In “Authentic,” Pardekooper addresses the dismissive hipsters: “Yeah, I’m not young enough. Rich enough. Vinyl enough. Crazy enough for you … Yeah this ain’t no disco. And it ain’t no folk show. It’s just another dig at authentic. Just another dig.”

For him, songwriting with an open, storytelling style and performances that are unvarnished by fancy studio techniques will always stand the test of time, even if it isn’t always in vogue.

Kelly will be playing an album release show at The Mill on Nov. 29 with a backing band of John Svec, Eric Straumanis and Matt Winegardner.