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Ken Navarro, “Ruby Lane” March 10, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, News, Personal.


The third week of February marked the arrival of Ken Navarro‘s latest album, Ruby Lane.  It’s available on his website now, but it otherwise comes out on April 15.

Reminiscent of his debut album, The River Flows, Ken wears many instrumental hats on Ruby Lane, playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, and keyboards.  And if my instinct is correct, he also handled bass, drums, and percussion under the anagrammed pseudonyms Evan Rorkan and Karen Voran.

1. Can I Make It Last (Or Will It Just Be Over) (5:10) – This is a Boz Scaggs cover.  Ken’s piano solo was inspired the late Joachim Young, who played piano on Boz’s original version.
2. Running Toward the Sun (4:54)
3. Kings and Queens (7:08) – Ken dedicated this to Coretta Scott King and Ethel Kennedy, who were left to raise their children on their own.  Tragically, their husbands – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy – were assassinated in 1968.
4. Westbound and Rolling (5:31) – This is a guitar extravaganza as Ken played 11 guitar parts all layered together.  It brought to mind riding the LIRR westbound to Penn Station.
5. When the Spirit Speaks (6:41) – Features The Scheinbar String Quartet
6. A Gentle Man (5:14)
7. Higher Ground (6:56) – This is the best cover of Stevie Wonder’s song I’ve heard yet.
8. Ruby Lane (5:09) – Ken’s 40th anniversary gift to his wife Kristin
9. Fortunate Son (4:45) – A new take on a song originally recorded for The Labor of Love (1992); it’s Ken’s thank you to his parents

Ruby Lane is another Ken Navarro masterpiece.  I like it so much that I’ve heard all tracks at least five times so far; I stopped counting after a while.

I’ll leave you with the Ruby Lane preview video, which contains track excerpts:

The track order differs from the order on the CD I bought.

4/30 UPDATE: Ken previewed Ruby Lane in this podcast.

6/12 UPDATE: Ken demonstrates how “Running Toward the Sun” was mixed:



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