To The Brim
by Kermit Lynch
Outside the southern United States, singer-pianist Jerry Lee Lewis is largely known for rock ’n’ roll classics like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” but most of his portfolio is devoted to some of the finest country music ever recorded. For one of my recording sessions, I hired pedal steel guitar legend Lloyd Green, who played on some of Jerry Lee’s recordings. I asked Lloyd what that was like. “Well,” he said, “Jerry Lee walked straight over to his piano, placed a bottle of whiskey on one side of it, then pulled out a pistol and placed it down flat on the other side. After that, we all tuned up and got to work.”
Folks, my latest CD has nothing to do with Jerry Lee Lewis except the title, To The Brim, which might need explaining. I had fourteen songs, an hour of music, and I worried, was that too many, too much? Still, I could not bring myself to do any pruning. You’ll find an unusual variety of musical genres, from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway, Lou Reed to Hank Williams, and that works to keep the CD from growing monotonous. So I decided, okay then, why not fill the disc up to the brim? Which, I realized, is a line from one of Jerry’s many drinking songs:
There stands the glass,
Fill ’er up to the brim.
By the way, another Jerry Lee classic recording is titled “Wine Me Up.” Amen! And don’t miss “The Alcohol of Fame,” which gets my vote for all-time-best Honky-Tonk Drinking-Song-Title award. Your JLL starter LP? She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye. Hmm, sweet of her. The album is on Spotify, and JLL’s piano is killer throughout.
Anyway, back to my new CD, fourteen songs chosen for a variety of reasons; however, there’s not enough room to explain each one. Our primary purpose here is not to be music to your ears, but to inspire thirst, so please, pour yourself a glass of some tasty something or other to help your sensors prepare, then listen to cut two, my take on Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman.” Ask yourself, what’s interesting about a woman who makes love like a woman? What could that possibly imply? What’s Bob up to? In my vocal, I try to answer those questions.
And in cut fourteen, I wanted to send you back out into the real world in the right mood. My band includes Grammy and Country Music Hall of Fame musicians, and they slide cozily into “Blues Stay Away from Me” like it’s a pair of fur-lined slippers. I make room for a bunch of instrumental solo verses. Thus, the CD fades out with what I’d call a long, sweet aftertaste.
Also available on Spotify, Apple Music, and all streaming platforms.