Saving Grace

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
The ex-Del Lords/Dictators' guitarist first solo album in 16 years is an impressive return that dials down the volume for a sturdy, heartfelt set of urban rock and soul that is never less than well conceived and often emotionally stirring. While older fans might expect more of the slashing guitars he unleashes on the Stones-styled "Stolen Kisses" and "The Secret Everybody Knows," the other somewhat reserved songs burn with a passion that, like the quieter aspects of the Velvet Underground, shimmer with edgy, inner-city heat. Similar to an East Coast version of Dave Alvin, Kempner doesn't have a great voice but it's good enough, and his flinty talk-sung delivery lasers in ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
The ex-Del Lords/Dictators' guitarist first solo album in 16 years is an impressive return that dials down the volume for a sturdy, heartfelt set of urban rock and soul that is never less than well conceived and often emotionally stirring. While older fans might expect more of the slashing guitars he unleashes on the Stones-styled "Stolen Kisses" and "The Secret Everybody Knows," the other somewhat reserved songs burn with a passion that, like the quieter aspects of the Velvet Underground, shimmer with edgy, inner-city heat. Similar to an East Coast version of Dave Alvin, Kempner doesn't have a great voice but it's good enough, and his flinty talk-sung delivery lasers in on the emotional intensity on ballads such as "Passion Red." Kempner has worked extensively with Dion in the band Little Kings, and the construction of a handful of these songs such as "Here Comes My Love" and "Heartbeat of Time" a Dion co-write are clearly influenced by a '60s sensibility but with a sense of danger and respect for the past that recalls the finest work of Willy DeVille. Even the title of "Love out of Time" sounds like something Dion might have sung while swaggering down the Bronx streets of his youth. The bulk of the album was recorded to analog tape at Brooklyn's now defunct Coyote Studios and the sound of New York City -- tough, unyielding, rough around the edges yet with a tender inside -- informs every song here. Kempner plays all the guitars, occasionally utilizing overdubs, but he and co-producer Michael Caiati keep the proceedings lean and mean with just enough sonic tricks, such as the ghostly backing vocals in the driving "Baby's Room," to bolster the performance. Old Del Lords buddy Frank Funaro helps out on drums and Smithereens bassist Mike Mesaros lends strong rhythm section support. The disc's only cover is "I'll Give You Needles," a harrowing ballad written by Tommy Womack and delivered with requisite intensity in a primarily acoustic version that never slips into melodrama. Like Bruce Springsteen, Kempner understands his influences but isn't shackled to them. He hammers these songs with the iconic echoes of classic rock & roll without sounding clich├ęd or retro. The result is timeless music, informed by sharp lyrics, tough melodies, tight playing, and a dynamic mix of bravado leavened by a vulnerability that makes this gutsy material personal, passionate, and urgent.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/2008
  • Label: Megaforce
  • UPC: 020286122029
  • Catalog Number: 61220
  • Sales rank: 239,356

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Scott Kempner Primary Artist
Mike Russo Bass, Background Vocals
Peter Abbott Percussion
Bob Babbitt Bass
Albert Caiati Background Vocals
Frank Funaro Drums
Ed Greene Drums
Dave Kincaid Bass, Background Vocals
Mike Mesaros Bass
Victor Rice Standup Bass
Ed Pettersen Percussion, Background Vocals
Kevin Gordon Background Vocals
Pat Murray Percussion, Background Vocals
Scott McClatchy Background Vocals
Tony Lauria Accordion
Tad Kinchla Background Vocals
Chris Russo Drums
Technical Credits
Paul Angelli Mastering
Dion DiMucci Composer, Author
Michael Frondelli Engineer
Scott Kempner Composer, Producer
Dave Kincaid Engineer
Bob Olhsson Engineer
Ed Pettersen Producer
Fred Kervorkian Remastering
Mike Caiati Producer, Engineer
Tommy Womack Composer
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