Album Review: Stephen Kellogg - Blunderstone Rookery

Stephen Kellogg has been fronting his band "The Sixers" throughout the course of the past decade with record deals on major labels like Universal, Atlantic and Vanguard. Now back working as a solo artist while the band takes a hiatus, the storytelling songwriter showcases his latest tunes on Blunderstone Rookery, his firs

Stephen Kellogg is a singer/songwriter who has released a handful of albums with his band “The Sixers” in the past decade with a few landing on major labels. While mainstream success has eluded the band, they are proof of working musicians who are able to tour and support themselves and make a living without needing ‘real jobs.’ Kellogg’s new recording, Blunderstone Rookery, is his first since the band took a hiatus at the end of 2012, also was made in a period of transition for the artist, a year of life, death and home repair among the inspiration for the set of songs conained within.

Released earlier this year, the album showcases the New England native focusing on lyrics and stories that are often found in ‘folk’ and ‘country,’ even if this album criss-crosses Folk, Country, Rock and Blues with equal affinity. Songs like “Forgive Me, Forgive You” could easily be played on AAA and Country radio stations while “Men & Women” recalls the classical lyrical stories of folks like Rodney Crowell.  Feature track “Crosses” has more of the classic singer/songwriter storytelling vibe mixed with a little Pettyian flair for dramatics but it, like the two above it, feel like something that could be heard on Country radio if placed in the right singer’s hands.

The songs on Blunderstone Rookery (a title which takes it’s name from a character in Dickens’ David Copperfield) are all strong in story, strong in structure and strong in vocals with Kellogg proving why he and his band have found a loyal audience — not unlike Griffin House or Ingram Hill have with their similar unclassifiable songs of life and love — and perhaps no other song showcases this more than “I Don’t Wanna Die On The Road,” a song that’s about his life as a touring vagabond and how he longs to eventually wind down from all of this touring, even if it’s allowed him to live his life and dreams. “Ingrid’s Song” rounds out the 11 tracks on the album and is a loving tribute while the track before it, the 10 minute opus “Thanksgiving” may be the truest sense of who Kellogg is as an artist and what his life is all about and it’s a great one, making strong albums worthy of attention, albums like Blundersone Rookery. Do yourself a favor and check it out.