Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RECORD REVIEW: Nobody You Know "9"

Nobody You Know 

More than six years 
in the making, 
veteran musician 
Greg Kimple 
(finally) unveils 
his masterpiece.

During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, singer, songwriter and musician Greg Kimple was co-owner of the now legendary Power Station nightclub in Melbourne, Florida — located three hours north of his Miami hometown. Kimple, along with his brother and business partner Jeff, was responsible in those days for putting Melbourne on rock’s national radar by bringing such then-underground acts as Marilyn MansonNine Inch NailsKorn and White Zombie to Florida's Space Coast. And although for years he was connected primarily to the business side of the music business, his true passion was always for the music side.

Rewind to 1969. Kimple got his first break playing drums for the Miami-based rock band, Fantasy. Often compared stylistically to the Janis Joplin-fronted, Big Brotherand the Holding Company, Fantasy signed a major label record deal while Kimple was barely out of high school. Within a year or so, he had toured coast-to-coast with Fantasy and experienced the thrill of watching his band’s single, “Stoned Cowboy” climb to the ranks of Billboard’s Top 40.

Greg Kimple (aka GSK)
But Fantasy’s run would be short-lived. The psychedelic late ‘60s soon gave way to the singer / songwriter era of the early ‘70s. Kimple ultimately found himself working the South Florida club circuit for years until finally landing in the Melbourne area as a booking agent in the mid ‘80s. By 1989, The Power Station was open for business and the rest is Florida rock and roll history. 

In the aftermath of the rock mega club era, Kimple returned to the music side of the business, as he began developing new original material with an array of musicians in his private Cocoa Beach recording studio. By  2009, he was focused fully on completing the project that he’d so passionately been working on for several years. And in 2013 he’s finally released a full-length record entitled 9, under the band name, Nobody You Know.

Ultimately created at various studios from Miami to Atlanta to Nashville, 9 showcases an all-star line-up, including saxophonist Charlie DeChant (Hall & Oates), bassist John Marcus (Tim McGraw) and longtime South Florida session drummer, Larry Hirt.  But it was the involvement of blues-master Steve Thorpe that Kimple refers to as "pivotal." "Steve was the first guy to come on board with the project, and he gave 1,000%," Kimple adds. Sadly, Thorpe didn't see the project come to its completion, as the Florida guitarist passed away in 2010. And it is to him that 9 is dedicated.

Cover photography: John Arehart

Produced by Kimple and Cliff Guest, 9 offers nearly as many flavors as Baskin-Robbins. From the jazz-meets-pop "Love is a Simple Thing" to the Sgt. Pepper vibe of “Love is All Around Us” to the R&B inspired, Lou Reed-ish “Monkey Business,” the record is eclectic and engaging.

Other highlights include, "Lies," with its simple, yet Buick-size chorus — "Devil's in the Details," featuring Thorpe's funky wacka-chicka-wah-wah guitar work  and  "Monica," which combines "Money for Nothing"-style guitars with a "Tangled Up in Blue"-type story... When I met you, you were working in a Mexican cafe. No Cuban coffee, no tequila, no champagne. The 11-song set finally takes a sharp left at Butcher Holler, ending with the bluegrass hillbilly anthem, "Hick City."

Kimple has clearly taken a "Better to get it right, than to get it fast" approach, as the record certainly sounds as if it was years in the making. Hence, it's no accident that 9 is a world-class-sounding project. Additionally, Kimple hired the "big guns" to oversee the all-important post-recording aspects of the album — bringing in renown engineer Steve Gordon (Prince, Rob Thomas, Bon Jovi) at Royal Palace Studios in Miami Lakes to mix the record, and legendary engineer, Mike Fuller (The Eagles, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton) at Fullersound in Fort Lauderdale to handle mastering.

The songs are predominantly all upbeat, radio-ready, rootsy rockers, with Kimple providing lead vocals. His voice possesses an honest and pure quality while his lyrics tell personal stories and paint vivid portraits of engaging characters — proving to be a particular treat for those who can still recognize and appreciate well-written songs, quality musicianship and compelling storytelling.

-Christopher Long
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  1. Great review. I've enjoyed this album immensely. I'm on my fifth go through and still hearing new elements of interest from this well crafted work.

    Punchy solid wall of sound with great song writing backed masterful musicianship.

    Warning! When you get to "Monkey Business" you may be tempted to weave in and out of traffic at a rate above legal limits as this song pops along and demands movement from the listener.

    I'd love to hear these song presented live in an intimate club but could imagine it just as well received in a large venue.

  2. Hey Andrew,

    A live club performance -- count me in!

    Thanks for sharing. Stop by anytime.


  3. Can't wait to get my hands on this one! Been a fan ever since I got to work on one of his songs...don't think it ever made it to CD, but I was very impressed with his 'musicianship' and his knowledge of the craft! His lyrics are genius and his music is addictive. - Pam Jacobs