You can hardly tell Stephen Kellogg is 36 years old. Well, you can tell he’s spent his fair share of years on the road by the chiseled look on his face. In a way, though, Kellogg wears his age well like George Clooney does. For a man that’s 36 years old, he still has plenty to write about in his songs. While many of his contemporaries write about love won and lost, Kellogg covers a much wider spectrum with his writing style. Spending 10 years on the road and recording with his band Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, they had songs that covered the story of a Glassjaw Boxer, living as a touring musician on the 4th of July, and the envy of the youth of Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts. After a decade of touring, the band decided it was time to take a break from life on the road. With their blessing, Kellogg went back into the studio to work on his first solo album since before the Sixers.
The album starts out with the fingerpicked guitar that fans of his former work will find familiar in “Lost and Found.” In a relatively upbeat tune, the lyrics sing a relationship that seems to be changing its course. Kellogg sings out in the bridge, “Do you recognize me? I don’t recognize you. I don’t know how we got here, I don’t. Do you recognize me, when you tell me it’s through? ‘Cause believe me I don’t recognize you.” “Forgive You, Forgive Me” sounds like a Tom Petty B-Side with it’s vaguely familiar guitar lick and catchy chorus melody.
Kellogg reaches deep into his songwriting bag to write a song about gender equality in “Men & Women.” He sings about his family in one verse saying, “When it comes to daughters, well I know a thing or two. I teach them that they’re gonna have to be brave and look out for all of you. May they never feel inferior and may they make a decent mark. If some boy becomes their fire, may they realize they’re the spark.” It’s hard not to love the personal touch he puts on his songs with a true country twang to it.
Racking in at 10 minutes, “Thanksgiving” sticks out like a sore thumb. Opening with a full choir and spanning the entire life of Kellogg, this epic of a song is one loyal fans will love and new fans will skip over. However, after spending half his life with a guitar in his hand professionally, he knows who he’s writing songs for at this point in his career.
Stephen Kellogg’s “Crosses”
While this record may not be a huge change for lifelong fans of the Sixers, they will certainly find it encouraging that Kellogg is still writing songs and playing live and plans on doing so for years to come. This record will not be winning any awards or topping any charts, but that’s never been a priority for Kellogg. “I make music for two reasons,” Kellogg explains. “To provide for my family and to share my thoughts with people who might be interested in hearing them. If I can have a positive impact on anybody, I want to reach that person, be they family members, friends, or fans, old and new. The work I leave behind will be my legacy to my family. That’s what keeps me going.”
You can order the album on Amazon and iTunes. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
Recommended if you like: The Dirty Guv’nahs, Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty
Written by: Matthew Moore | OurVinyl Contributor