PressReviews of Troubadour Tales Album
Reviews from Kenny’s 3rd CD “Troubadour Tales”
“There is a wonderful artist who should have been included on Eric Clapton’s JJ Cale tribute album, “The Breeze An Appreciation of JJ Cale” – Kenny Butterill, a Canadian Roots singer-songwriter. A soulful musician, Butterill’s music is at the highest level but he is in the second row, so to speak, because he’s mostly known only in the inner circle of Roots industry professionals and fans.
As the ‘Old Sock’ Clapton surrounded himself with only illustrious names like Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler and John Mayer, it was up to the gray-haired Kenny Butterill to bring his own tribute to JJ Cale to the world. And, what a surprise — his “Troubadour Tales” album does indeed sound fresher and in large part less calculated than Clapton’s Superstar parade last summer. Ultimately making it so because with good intentions, Butterill’s “Troubadour Tales” and in particular his JJ Cale tribute song “Hocus Pocus” was recorded three weeks before Cale sadly passed away!
Butterill took a full ten years in stages to make this profound song collection, but that of course does not detract from the enjoyment of this excellent Roots album with its confident calmness and a recognizable Cale’ish laid back feel. In addition, the Canadian proves he can crossover and appeal well to Country and Folk genres just like his other American role models John Prine, Guy Clark and Townes van Zandt. He also has excellent colleagues on this CD like Cindy Cashdollar, Redd Volkaert, Ray Bonneville, Zoe Muth, Audrey Auld and Donovan (yes, that almost forgotten British bard) accompanying him, so befitting – it makes a statement that shouldn’t be ignored.
To the point – Butterill wrote and produced and David Teegarden (Bob Seger) mastered “Troubadour Tales”, a wonderful smorgasbord of selected roots gems that sparkle and while Butterill is somewhat obscure, his heartfelt honesty and intention is certainly no less heart grabbing than Clapton’s well-intentioned homage to the laid back Grand Master.”
– Frank Ipach, Hooked on Music, Germany
“Kenny Butterill may live in California, but his music has the Tulsa sound written all over it. His laid back country blues style shows the heavy influence of J.J. Cale with shades of Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine. Hocus Pocus, in fact, was recorded only three weeks before Cale’s passing in July 2013. “They say he’s the best in this ‘ole land, ‘cause he’s the Hocus Pocus Magic Mojo Music Man.” It doesn’t hurt that Tulsa’s own David Teegarden mastered this CD at Natura Digital Studios …. Scottish folk-pop troubadour Donovan makes a special guest appearance on this album, which is filled with jewels. Kenny Butterill is a genuine wordsmith creating original, sensitive, warm and memorable songs, with a host of talented musicians contributing to this album.”
– Bill Martin, Blues News, The Blues Society of Tulsa
JJ Cale’s long-time colleague and friend, producer David Teegarden, who mastered Kenny Butterill’s Troubadour Tales CD in Tulsa, shared that “It was an honor to work with Kenny. This is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard – I know Cale would have liked it too”! “
– David Teegarden, Producer
“Butterill’s players – including Redd Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, veteran Canadian guitarist Ray Bonneville, and multi-instrumentalist Kenny Feinstein – match the soft-spoken singer/songwriter like a tailored suit. Bonneville’s electric solo in “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here” is a prime example. As producer and artist, Butterill puts together the elements that show him at his best.”
– Rick Allen, Vintage Guitar Magazine
“In the songs from Canadian Americana songwriter Kenny Butterill’s third album there is no question as to what you’re getting: a collection of songs from a seasoned industry veteran. While Butterill doesn’t invent something new here – his not afraid to be honest and pay tribute to his obvious heroes – in the end he makes it all right. And his heroes deserve to be recognized: from folk legend Donovan who contributed to a duet on the album, JJ Cale-producer David Teegarden who mastered the album, to the Cale tribute song “Hocus Pocus”, and a tribute to Butterill’s old friend, recently deceased Willie P Bennett. At the same time, Butterill is also different: from “Cyrano’s Song” is a fresh take on the Cyrano de Bergerac story to “Flying with Buddha” which opens with Tibetan monks chanting to and is about the spiritual reflection of death and rebirth. Technically, the whole album is cleanly recorded and produced, so in the final result is well rounded. For Americana friends who are looking for alternatives to established and traditional artists, Butterill is strongly recommended.”
– Ullrich Maurer, Germany
“Ten years can be an eternity in the life of a musician. And if this time corresponds to a recording silence, it is almost normal that you are forgotten and go into oblivion.
Troubadour Tales represents the return of Canadian singer and songwriter Kenny Butterill (residing in Northern California) of considerable caliber, the third chapter in a career revitalized by this record that deserves the attention of fans of Americana music who are into real talent . The album has a full slate of celebrity guests, passionate stories of real life, a warm sound and modulated such that it does not hide the influences of Kenny Butterill, who include Gordon Lightfoot, JJ Cale, John Prine and Donovan who is a special guest of these sessions.
Folk, blues, then Americana, played by a confident voice and passionate through all twelve songs (plus one bonus track) produced with care and taste by the same Kenny Butterill and recorded between Los Gatos, California and studios in Nashville, Austin and Vancouver among others.
Butterill has surrounded himself with extraordinary collaborators such as Cindy Cashdollar, the magician of the electric guitar Redd Volkaert, David Grier acoustic guitar, Rob Ickes excellent dobro player already with Blue Highway, John Reischman on mandolin, the Canadian bluesman Ray Bonneville and the voices of Audrey Auld, Zoe Muth and the mourned Sarah Elizabeth Campbell. The result is a work with various sounds whether paying homage to JJ Cale as in “Hocus Pocus” and in “Good Thing That Could not Happen Here”, or close to the Mexican border in “Pajaro Dunes”, celebrating extraordinary Canadian singer-songwriter Willie P. Bennett in “Willie We Miss You”, combining folk and blues in “True North”, meeting country music in “Dead End Of the Dirt Road”, then more acoustic and closer to his roots as in “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told”.
This Troubadour Tales album is compact yet highly successful, intelligent and full of memorable lyrics that make it positive and enjoyable, right from the first listen.”
– Remo Ricaldone, The Long Journey – Roots and Country Music, Italy
“Sometimes you have to be careful not to overlook something, or in case of music ‘overlisten’ it, as is the case with this Kenny Butterill album, who makes quiet country songs that, if you’re not paying attention, can get lost in the background. But, when you listen more carefully you’ll hear how good those songs are, how good the band is that supports Kenny and you’ll turn up the music to really enjoy the music.
Because every song on Troubadour Tales is good! Sometimes with surprising guest appearances from for example Donovan on harmonica in the song Gaia Blues (in which you also hear the great Ray Bonneville on guitar). Surprising and extremely good. Cindy Cashdollar on steel guitar also joins Butterill on the album and John Lee Sanders makes the Hammond B3 organ sound amazing, like it should!
Butterill sings relaxed and good, in some songs supported by guest singers, he plays guitar and he wrote all the incredible songs on this strong album. Which is particularly good because of the laid back vibe the music gives you, even though the musicians are extremely on point. The incredible way this album is recorded makes it very interesting and entertaining to listen to. A great album and an absolute must have!.”
– Moorsmagazine, Netherlands
“Smooth and mellow are the words that first come to mind hearing Kenny Butterill’s new disc. He’s definitely that kind of guy. The Ajax-born, Ottawa-raised singer/songwriter has made a career of country living and avoiding the centres of the music business, preferring Northern California. He just concentrates on writing songs and recording them with the best mu sicians he can find. He finds some great ones. The most prominent one on the latest disc is ’60s icon Donovan Leitch , who adds a great mellow harmonica and helped mix the track Gaia Blues, which also has some silky bluesy guitar by Ray Bonneville and superb back ing vocals by Zoe Muth. That kind of smooth , lived-in playing is all over the record by the likes of Red Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, John Lee Sanders, Jim Norris, Jim Lewin, David Grier, John Reischman, Washboard Hank, Harpin’ Jonny, and others. Other sweet highlights are Cyrano’s Song, Pajaro Dunes, Hocus Pocus, The Greatest Love Story Never Told, and True North. Every song contains something worth listening to: a nicely phrased guitar passage, a gorgeous harmonica riff, or an interesting lyric, and all of it is as comfortable and relaxed as a favourite flannel shirt. Nice stuff.”
– Barry Hammond, PenguinEggs, Canada
“Welcome to these tales of life and love, brought down to me on the wings of a dove.” So writes Canadian singer-songwriter Kenny Butterill who now lives in Northern California, on the inside cover of his new album Troubadour Tales, a CD with twelve wonderful stories of his own. Some of the songs have a JJ Cale feel, and he even pays homage to the deceased troubadour with “Hocus Pocus”, which Butterill wrote three weeks before JJ Cale died in 2013.
A great role on this song by John Lee Sanders on Hammond organ. On “Troubadour tales” Butterill is joined by a variety of musicians, including Ray Bonneville (electric guitar and harmonica), Redd Volkaert (electric guitar), Cindy Cashdollar (steel guitar), Jim Lewin (acoustic guitar) and Jim Norris (drums). A special guest is Donovan. The Scottish troubadour of the sixties (Universal Soldier, Colours, Catch the Wind) plays harmonica on Gaia Blues, a song which is further enhanced by the beautiful harmony vocals by Zoe Muth. “Flying With Buddha” begins with the chanting of Tibetan monks, a nice up tempo track with a prominent piano by John Lee Sanders. “Pajaro Dunes” is a gem, with Spanish guitar Joe Weed, the accordion Jim Oakden and harmony vocals Katie Kendall-Weed. “Dead End Of The Dirt Road” is a bluegrass song with Washboard Hank on washboard and banjo and singing with Kenny Butterill is Audrey Auld. A special song is “Willie We Miss Ya”, a tribute to Willie P. Bennett, one of Kenny’s biggest supporters who died in 2008. The album closes with an additional bonus track “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”, that is dedicated to, among others, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky and former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
We had to wait ten years, but with his third album “Troubadour Tales” Kenny Butterill has for me hit the mark again. Lovers of nice laid back Americana, folk, blues, roots, alt country, not to mention JJ Cale, can indulge in this wonderful album.”
– Gerrit Schinkel, BluesMagazine
“Kenny Butterill “TROUBADOUR TALES” just a true honest set of songs. Touches on what’s going on in our wonderful planet, and highlight’s our plight as slaves to the system. Just remember the great protest music of the 60s and 70s, well it’s still around, you just have to listen a little bit harder.
“TROUBADOUR TALES” [is] a collection of songs Butterill has sketched over many years, Butterill writes close to the heart and this is echoed in this topical creation. “TROUBADOUR TALES” is a brilliant contribution to the recent push to encourage observation, comment and action on world events and the human state, and in so doing, it offers a retrospective of Butterill’s study.
In current reviews Butterill has been hailed “the romantic poet of Americana music”… brimming with absorbing melodies and down-to-earth vocals. “TROUBADOUR TALES” displays Butterill’s individual, sensitive and diverse song-writing skills. Butterill continues to forge his own path, delivering musical magic that truly unites Alternative, Roots, Americana, Country and Folk-Blues music fans over the world. Great Music, you’ll love it.“
– Dave, Jupiter Smith
“Kenny Butterill’s third album is fittingly entitled Troubadour Tales. He’s a veteran roots music singer/songwriter/producer, and he delivers a subtle gem here. It took ten years to create and used that many studios, but is well worth the wait. Long based in northern California, Butterill has kept ties with Canadian musicians, and the album features such notable countrymen as Ray Bonneville and Linda McRae. American guests include Cindy Cashdollar while the legendary Donovan guests on “Gaia Blues”. The focus throughout is on Butterill’s warm and laidback vocals (JJ Cale is a common reference point) and perceptive lyrics that oft include social commentary, as on “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”. A lovely tribute to our late great Willie P. Bennett, “Willie We Miss Ya”, is a highlight of a record lacking lowlights. He played four Ontario dates in November.”
– Kerry Doole, NewCanadianMusic.ca, Canada
“A disc every ten years is already a way to declare the strangeness of the world of music business today, otherwise I think we would have had more news from Kenny Butterill after his “Just A Songwriter” CD. Someone malicious might think that if it took him so long, perhaps there were also artistic reasons: I do not want to convince you that this Canadian, who retired in the woods in Northern California for twenty years, is some kind of a unknown singer songwriter, because that’s not the case, and the fact that he produced a disc with musicians such as Cindy Cashdollar (formerly with Bob Dylan), Ray Bonneville, Redd Volkaert (former guitarist for Merle Haggard), Zoe Muth and Rob Ikes is not a privilege for everyone. From the list I have deliberately kept in the background the most famous, who also helps by making his cameo appearance more important in Troubadour Tales: This is Donovan, blowing the harmonica in the ecological song Gaia Blues.
The album was recorded in several studios spread between California, Texas, Nashville and his native Canada, but the album does not suffer at all from this myriad of recording locations, but rather can claim the honor of best uniformity of sound, country blues slightly electrified and down home flavored roots which is the essence of the Americana tradition. Butterill’s voice is a bit low and subtle: put in these terms it does not appear as a great compliment, but a recurring feature on tracks such as the political satirical commentary Good Thing That Could Not Happen Here or Old Man and the Kid is the unique “laid back” Southern feel, with JJ Cale as a clear point of reference. It is so true that Butterill, playing his cards face up on the table, pays tribute to Cale in Hocus Pocus, a song that could belong to the same Cale, recorded three weeks before the death of the latter, we are informed in the notes of the disc. Ranging from social issues, food for spiritual (Flying with Buddha) and letters (the uplifting Cyrano’s Song), Troubadour Tales is one of those inconspicuous works from someone too “reclusive,” who, however, makes up for with skill by a true craftsmen with timeless passion.
And in any case, if you love to listen to the paths of tradition (as we assume you are reading these pages), here you will find enclosed instrumental music of the highest quality and ease of mind: the winds of the border between the accordion and the Spanish guitar from Pajaro Dunes, a place actually located on the Pacific coast, the classic country cottage described in Dead End of the Dirt Road, the fantastic blusey song True North (JJ Cale lurking in the guitar), then the acoustic Woman in a Canoe, to the memory of another forgotten hero, his compatriot Willie P. Bennett, who Butterill evokes in Willie We Miss Ya, who already in his time he was honored in the band Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. This is an album that does not sound subversive not even in the Americana genre, but which has crossed a larger artistry.”
– Davide Albini, Roots Highway, Italy
“True to the German phrase “Good things take time”, the latest release “Troubadour Tales” from Canadian singer / songwriter / producer KENNY BUTTERILL has been ten years in the making. The album delivers a warm, relaxing, easy and enjoyable feel to listen to. Recorded this year in eight different studios, the result is a masterpiece of melodies and performances that should be considered one of the best Americana releases of 2014. Among the brilliant guest musicians who contributed to this highly recommended album are Donovan, Cindy Cashdollar, Audrey Auld, Redd Volkaert and Zoe Muth.”
– Max W. Achatz, COUNTRY JUKEBOX, Germany
“Kenny Butterill is where he is supposed to be and doing what he is supposed to be doing … Kenny Butterill is a troubadour in the true sense of the word… It took a long while for him to get to this stage (10 years between albums) but he is here now and poised to grab the prize … The new Kenny Butterill album “Troubadour Tales” is the man at his best.”
– Don Graham, Cashbox, Canada
“California based Canadian singer/songwriter with his third album of Americana, folk, roots, alt-country and bluesy music which is influenced by J J Cale, Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine.This beguiling CD is packed full of easy rolling songs and vivid imagery of life, love and death etc. which justify the album’s 10 years in the making. Opening track “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here” is a satirical blast at the attitudes of government and big business towards democracy and citizen’s rights with great playing from Ray Bonneville on harmonica and guitar and John Lee Sanders on piano. The album is packed with 20 or so world class musicians and one of Butterill’s hero’s Donovan adds superb harmonica to the lovely “Gaia Blues”. The gently rolling tale “The Old Man And The Kid” features wonderful mandolin and fiddle from Kenny Feinstein who also co-wrote this song with Butterill. “Flying With Buddha” is a spiritual song which starts with a Tibetan Monks chant before a speedy shuffle beat comes in as Butterill relates the vagaries of life, love, death and reincarnation. Butterill’s masterful songwriting and inviting melodies plus his warm laid back vocals make for a rewarding listen. The speedy minor chord shuffle “Hocus Pocus” is a tribute/homage to JJ Cale who passed away three weeks after this fine song was recorded. This is music where folk, blues and country are put into a blender and come out as a genre which is dripping in class and invites the listener to sit back, drink in hand, and wallow in enjoyment. The dreamy, romantic and inspirational “Woman In A Canoe” is a beautiful ballad which rounds out this wonderful album. Thoroughly recommended.”
– Blue Matters, UK
“Butterill, the exact opposite of Mellencamp (the other artist reviewed in this issue), has been active for decades but remains a secret except for those with inside the music business. The songs on his latest CD were ten years in the making and recorded together with many well-known musicians in several different studios. His style recalls – consciously – the recently deceased JJ Cale in the opening of the CD with the song “Good Thing That Could Not Happen Here”; it is reminiscent of “Call Me The Breeze “. All the songs are all finely arranged, Butterill himself is not a shouter but rather a reluctant singer who brings and shares his deep feeling while singing rather than just expressing his songs. The songs themselves are about and full of life and are comparable to the works of Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Richard Dobson and Steve Gillette.”
– Paul Rostetter, Brambus Records, Switzerland
“… Like a painter expresses himself through his colors, Kenny expresses himself through his music, wonderful compositions, fine lyrics and instruments … as on his previous albums Kenny has painted some wonderful pictures again. Kenny is an observer, an onlooker. Like a troubadour in the old days singing and traveling form castle to castle telling his stories on all kinds of events, Kenny tells us his stories on love, on relations, on politics.”
– Martin van der Laan, Radio Compagnie, The Netherland
“This Canadian songwriter and folk singer is in the tradition of Ian & Sylvia and Gordon Lightfoot but his influences also include Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and Donovan, who appears here with him on harmonica in “Gaia Blues” dedicated to the patron goddess of the Earth. Kenny Butterill surrounded himself with country musicians of high quality: Cindy Cashdollar (Dylan, Asleep At The Wheel, Ray Benson) for pedal steel, Rob Ikes the dobro, guitarist Redd Volkaert and Ray Bonneville. Three songs are in laid-back style like JJ Cale while “Old Man & The Kid” remembers “Tennessee Stud” by Eddie Arnold. “Cyrano’s Song” dedicated to Roxanne and Cyrano de Bergerac is personal and innovative and “Pajaro Dunes” is a country-mariachi dedicated to a heavenly place near Santa Cruz. “Woman In A Canoe” is a requiem brought to life in the painting by Californian Richard Bennett. The painting itself owes much to “Nude Descending a Staircase.” Kenny Butterill did a great album, he is one artist we would like to see on stage in the country of festivals next summer.”
– Romain Decoret, Guitarist & Bass Magazine, France
“The songs of Kenny Butterill gather sounds and styles together as a late afternoon watering hole for Americana, Folk, Rock’n’Roll, Alt Country and all the various children created in late night jams. Kenny Butterill is a singer/songwriter who follows the lead of peers such as Gordon Lightfoot , John Prine and J.J. Cale. Easy story telling vocals that glide like volcano honey over the rumble and sway in the rhythm of the tracks. Kenny Butterill has released “Troubadour Tales” from a personal collection of stories-as-poetry from the past ten years, the songs show Kenny’s past, present and future observations. Troubadour Tales was mastered by David Teagarden, taken from seven different recording locales. The album is the third for Kenny Butterill and brings in guest performances from Donovan, Cindy Cashdollar, the late Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, John Lee Sanders, Ray Bonneville, Rob Ickes, David Grier, John Reishman, Washboard Hank and Linda McRae among others.
Kenny Butterill rides a Tulsa train track groove into the album with “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”, delivers “Greatest Love Story Never Told” as a western tale baked with rock meat, moves the tone of temple bells aside for some country boogie in “Flying with Buddha”, blurs the breathy beat of “Hocus Pocus” with folk psychedelics and abides the spirits of Texas singer/songwriters with “Gaia Blues” Kenny Butterill is a serious student of the universe with his research and allegiance to Eastern mysticism, mythology, social justice, politics and red wine. He lives in the backwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, spending part of the year in his homeland at his Balsam cottage north of his Toronto, Canada.”
– Danny McCloskey, The Alternative Root
“…really nailed the “in the pocket” rolling blues/roots sound and there is some very cool playing on the songs. Not a bad cut on the CD in my opinion.”
– Brian Bourgoin, WCNI Music Director, Connecticut College, New London CT
“Canadian singer-songwriter, Kenny Butterill displays a wonderful, cool as they come mastery on this album. Recorded in no less than ten different studios it has something of a who’s who list of pickers back him up. “Troubadour Tales” is Butterill’s third album, and as already noted he must have something going for him because not everyone can call on musicians of the calibre of Redd Volkaert, Ray Bonneville, Cindy Cashdollar, Kenny Feinstein, David Grier, John Reischman, Rob Ickes, Jim Norris, John lee Sanders, Jim Lewin (and others) and Donovan even, plus vocals from the delightful Zoe Muth, Audrey Auld and recently deceased Texas favourite Sarah Elizabeth Campbell.
There is a wonderful feel good factor about the record, everything is so relaxed, organic, and with him much influenced by the late JJ Cale (he dedicates a song to the great man in “Hocus Pocus”) the listener is in for a rare treat. The former has that JJ loping shuffle, chugging along it also has that typical restless hungry feel. Butterill speaks of Cale putting on shows with a cool guitar, and how he was the best in the land, the hocus pocus magic mojo music man. Though good, and effective it isn’t the best track on the album. Not by a long way, it finds itself looking up at “Cyrano’s Song” (sounds very much like a song from Dirk Powell’s great new record) and “Old Man and the Kid” with a wonderful, hooky rhythmic beat and harmonica, mandolin, electric and steel guitar plus harmony vocals (Feinstein, Katie Kendall-Weed) it flows seamlessly. In part the song reminds me of Hot Club Of Cowtown’s wonderful version of Tom Waits’ “The Long Journey Home”; like many more songs on the record it is a really good one. Another big song, and one with a huge JJ Cale influence is the superb opening track “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”; Cale would have been proud to have written this one! What a groove, and it has for company the chugging, harmonica aided (Donovan) and harmony vocals (Muth) warmed “Gaia Blues”.
Easing through the record you have the likes of “Greatest Love Story Never Told” and on taking a trip into the backwoods “Dead End Of The Dirt Road” (written with Washboard Hank; who plays washboard, naturally and banjo on the track) and with time running out the penultimate track “Willie We Miss Ya” has him pay tribute to the late, fellow Canadian musician Willie P. Bennett. A stalwart of the Canadian musician scene he is someone I first took notice of many years ago.“Woman In A Canoe” is a pretty song, and contains the sublime mandolin (Reischman) and Dobro (Ickes) as the wistful story unfolds to close the record. Only for an extended version (UK version only) of “Good Thing….” pops up as a bonus track, I could not think of a more deserving song to be handed the privilege.”
– Maurice Hope,Flying Shoes, UK
“I had always felt that J.J. Cale and occasionally Eric Clapton were the acceptable face of laid back, mellow music but it seems Kenny Butterill can now be added to that minimal list! He is an excellent songwriter, talented producer and the possessor of a warm laid back vocal style that, importantly, can give a little edge to his beautifully arranged songs. The instrumentation is just about perfect as a background to this rolling, highly listenable style of music. I have never really gone for the more mellow generic strands before, other than the two aforementioned, but this really is an excellent album that I will in all probability keep returning to for a very long time. Stylistically he is very much his own man and as in the case of the late J.J. his music contains everything from folk and country to blues but all put into the blender, coming out the other side as a fully formed genre of its own. If you want a change from listening to raw edgy hillbillyness but to stay within hailing distance you won’t find better than this!”
– Mike Morrison, American Roots, UK
“…there is finally again news from this superlative man. And how! “Troubadour Tales” is nothing less than a superior Americana CD. Captivating from minute one to minute forty-nine. Completely filled with incredible songs – jam-packed to the brim with gems … Butterill produced this musical masterpiece filled with only original songs, himself … Not a single bad note on this album if you ask us! Exactly as it should after such a long absence ….”
– Benny Metten, Ctrl.Alt.Country, Belgium (4 stars)
“What a musical gem! Kenny is on the short list of singer songwriters who are able to record a whole album without a weak song, with just potential hits, with songs that seem to be familiar even after just a couple of listens. It seems so easy, obvious, this album will last as a reference …his voice on all these killer melodies, the musicians behind, .. everything is made with a high sense of good taste … Butterill made the perfect album.”
– Mike ‘the DJ’ Pennard Lhuis, France
“… you will not be surprised by his superb feel for a leisurely, hypnotic groove. This style, as with JJ Cale, maximizes the lyrics … Butterill offers some profound songs that range from political satire to romantic escapism.”
– John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music September 2014 (4 stars)
“I really like the title of this album for it describes what is hidden in the CD. Stories from a Canadian troubadour. That Butterill sometimes sounds like JJ Cale did is nothing that Butterill denies, and on this album he has even a Cale tribute song “Hocus Pocus”. The songs were recorded at different locations with different musicians. Ray Bonneville and Red Volkaert especially excel on guitar. Best track: “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here.”
– Månadens music review, Sweden
“After a 10-year hiatus since his last album, Northern California based Canadian roots/Americana songwriter Kenny Butterill has released his third album. As in the past he has put together another well-rounded collection of heartfelt tunes that will appeal to any music fan looking for straight ahead folk balladry. This time out Butterill is accompanied by none other than Donovan Leitch as the crown prince of the Sixties golden era of British folk psychedelia contributes some fine harmonica work on the thought-provoking ‘Gaia Blues.’ Another undoubted highlight here is Butterill’s affectionate, though grieving tribute, to the late and vastly underrated Canadian songsmith Willie P. Bennett. Although it was recorded in studios from California to Manhattan, the steadfast warmth of Butterill’s vocals holds Troubadour Tales together nicely.”
– Rod Nicholson,The Scene, London, ON Canada
“Troubadour Tales is a rich and keen offering, reliant on nothing but talent. Kenny Butterill is a singer, songwriter and a producer of considerable ability. The needed proof is this album took so long to make. Perfection takes time.”
– George Peden, NutsAboutCountry.com
“Other new music worth mentioning are: Kenny Butterill has nailed the JJ Cale sound on his new CD “Troubadour Tales”
– Tim Little, KRVM 91.9FM, Routes and Branches Show, Eugene, OR
“2014 was a good year for JJ Cale fans the world over – Eric Clapton released “The Breeze”, a CD of just JJ Cale cover songs. But it was Kenny Butterill who gave us the ultimate tribute about our hero with his homage song ABOUT the great JJ Cale – “Hocus Pocus” (recorded three weeks before Cale’s passing!). With his new Troubadour Tales CD, Kenny has mastered the JJ Cale feel and groove like no one else, ensuring the Cale legacy lives on forever. The mantle has been passed to a worthy soul – Kenny’s time has come: sit back and savor his music… this is pure organic, grain fed music… no genetic modification, nothing artificial… enjoy!”
– Gerard Walter, Abu Dhabi, UAE
“This album took about ten years to complete…and the timing of the release couldn’t be better. Interest in Americana/pop music is now at an all-time high. So we’d guess that Troubadour Tales will be welcomed with open arms. Canada’s Kenny Butterill (who also lives in Northern California) has a nice friendly sound and his songs come across sounding completely genuine and honest. The press release that accompanied this disc stated that Kenny’s influences include J.J. Cale, Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, and Donovan Leitch (who appears as a guest artist on the tune “Gaia Blues”). We can hear traces of all of these artists (and more) in these tracks. Butterill’s songs are built around a gently strummed acoustic guitar and his melodies flow by like a cool mountain stream. More than twenty musicians lent their talents here so it may surprise some that these cuts have a nice sparse overall sound. This album is housed in a beautifully designed digipak sleeve complete with a thick lyric booklet that makes it easy to read along with each song. This one’s bound to go over big with anyone who loves good solid folk/pop and/or Americana. Thirteen cool tracks including “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Dead End of the Dirt Road,” and “Woman In A Canoe.”
– www.babysue.com, USA
“The songs on this album are quiet, laid back, warm and pleasantly presented in terms of singing and music. Examples include the opening song “Good Thing That Could Happen Here” and also “Flying With Buddha” which begins with a chant of Tibetan monks and both songs really sound like something from JJ Cale.”
– Freddy Celis, www.rootstime.be, Belgium
“There is a time in every artist’s career when they are at the top of their game. For Kenny Butterill that time is now! He has a voice that captivates an audience completely, weaving a delightful message lyrically that sends the listener down a long, dusty road or beside the still waters of a Canadian lake. His guitar work is effortless and the notes that resonate from the strings are an integral part of each of his compositions, painting pictures for the listener. Butterill is a timeless classic who is surely festival bound with this latest offering.”
– Brent Jeffries, The Sun Times and Soundwaves-Georgian Bay Folk Society, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Troubadour Tales One Sheet
North American & European release date: July 31, 2014
File under Americana/Folk-Blues/Roots/Alt-Country • All Tracks are FCC Safe
“Troubadour Tales”, Canadian Kenny Butterill’s third, self-produced album is a compelling collection of stories and songs about real life, love and romance – all transcendent. Early reviews of this body of work, 10 years in the making, indicate the long anticipated CD has a sound and feel that is true to Butterill’s legacy of delivering “rootsy, folksy, bluesy, Americana, alt. country, feel good music”.
Kenny’s influences include the legendary J.J. Cale, Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, and the original Donovan Leitch, who makes a cameo appearance on “Gaia Blues”, adding what can only be called a perfect duet to Kenny’s vocals on harmonica. The song, a siren call about Mankind’s relationship with Mother Earth, features most of Butterill’s musical guests singing as a choir at the end, championing the cause.
A real highlight is the song “Hocus Pocus”, Butterill’s homage to JJ Cale, a hero to many. The song was recorded in 2013, three weeks before Cale’s passing. Cale’s long-time colleague and friend, producer David Teegarden, who mastered this CD in Tulsa, shared that “It was an honor to work with Kenny. This is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard – I know Cale would have liked it too”! Dallas Dobro, the dean of Americana DJs calls Butterill the “romantic poet of Americana music” and “the songwriting simply stunning”.
Tracks such as the blistering satirical “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here” reveal Butterill’s mastery of presenting relevant, accessible songs for the common man while “Flying with Buddha” is a comfortable piece about the simple notion of life and death – acknowledging that we all are born - and we all will pass. Having Tibetan Monks chanting at the beginning of the song is so apropos.
Recorded in 10 studios over the past year, Kenny’s high standards are evident in the illustrious cast of over twenty world class guest musicians he hand-picked for “Troubadour Tales”. Besides the great Donovan, Cindy Cashdollar and Redd Volkeart weigh in with signature riffs on several tracks. Rob Ikes (dobro) and John Reischman (mandolin) lend their inimitable magic, especially on the beautiful, tender “Woman in a Canoe”. John Lee Sanders returns again with Kenny, contributing smooth keyboards and soulful harmony vocals on several tracks and old friend Ray Bonneville is back too, turning in some of his finest work ever on four tracks.
The CD includes a heart-warming, heart-wrenching tribute to Butterill’s close friend and supporter, the late Willie P Bennett in “Willie We Miss Ya”. Then there’s “Cyrano Song” – a piece Cyrano de Bergerac may have given to his princess if he’d had the courage. The renowned David Grier lays down fantastic lead on acoustic guitar on this track (and on “Greatest Love Story Never Told”).
Importantly, this CD also marks the last recording of the late, great Sarah Elizabeth Campbell who adds rich harmonies on “Greatest Love Story Never Told”. Other stellar female harmony performances are delivered by Audrey Auld on “Dead End of the Dirt Road” (co-written with Washboard Hank), Americana favorite Zoe Muth on “Gaia Blues” and Linda McRae on “Willie We Miss Ya”.
Through the years, Butterill has been praised as a songwriter of great substance and depth. His repertoire continues to deliver on both counts. Richly textured but never overproduced, Butterill’s music has the warm ambience of an intimate setting with an up-close, personal vibe. This is due in no small part to the creative control that Butterill, the producer, exercises from recording to mixing, a role he takes very seriously. “Troubadour Tales” gives us a glimpse inside the man whose insightful, sometimes imaginative perceptions about mankind bear the signature stamp of his personality. Yes, the enigmatic Butterill is back - delivering musical magic that truly connects with Americana, Roots and Folk Blues fans around the world.