Released: 2005, Mascot Records/Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Kelly Keeling is not just a singer but also a multi instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer with numerous years in the business. Kelly originally comes from Louisiana, U.S.A., where he was a part several bands as vocalist, guitarists, and keyboarist. Some of you may know him as vocalist from John Sykes band Blue Murder as the singer for another guitar hero’s band, John Norums. assisted Don Dokken with songwriting to Dokken's album LONG WAY HOME in 2002.
Eventhough Kelly has been the lead vocalist on several albums he’s been standing in the background. Now it’s time for Kelly to take a well earned step forward. I’ve always liked Kelly’s voice and think he did wonders on two extremely weak albums by John Norum. On GIVING SIGHT TO THE EYE we find an impressive set list with many leading musicians like Don Dokken, John Norum, Tony Franklin, Roger Daltry, the Appice brothers, and Kerry Livgren. Kelly plays a lot of the instruments himself like piano, bass, Hammond C-3, slide/lead/rhythm guitar and mellotron...basically everything but drums.
Of course Kelly is a part of the songwriting on the 11 tracks, 2 are written only by Kelly but on the other songs he had help from Michelle Meldrum, Don Dokken, Carmine Appice and Tony Franklin. One song is a cover of the track “Ground Zero” written by Kerry Livgren (ex- Kansas guitarplayer) who also appears on the track playing piano. The album is produced by Kelly and on some of the songs he had help from Carmine Appice.
And what kind of music does Kelly deliver on this solo album, well, I've had the album for quite some time and I’d describe the music as everything from melodic hard rock influenced by 70’s retro blues-rock to progressive rock mixed with a few ballads. The songs “Rising of the Snake” and “I Believe” are already reviewed here on Kelly’s CDS called RISING OF THE SNAKE. Other very strong songs worth mentioning are “Parasite” that kicks off with an intro of 70’s hard rock in combination with progressive rock ’n roll. The main focus is on keyboards and lead vocals. Kelly sounds really rough and the song ends with a longer bluesy guitar solo. “Broken” is a prog-rock track with a lot of different tempos. “Perfect day” starts off as a ballad in the first two verses but further into the song the tempo rises and turns into an uptempo ballad. Tony Franklin plays bass, Carmine Appice drums, and Kelly sings with incredible feeling and this can be a potential radio hit. “Nothing” is also 70’s hard rock but with more melody. The sharp guitar tunes are played by Kelly and most part of the mix belongs to lead vocals and guitar. John Norum appears on lead guitar and takes on a stunning solo at the end of the song.
There are a whole lot of positive things to say about this album: great production, strong guest musicians, and of course Kelly's own input. For once it’s Kellys turn to show off and he does it with style. GIVING SIGHT TO THE EYE is an album that takes a while to appreciate. If you have the patience, I promise you a pleasant experience and if you are a fan of Kelly this album is a given purchase.
Killer tracks are “Rising of the snake”, “Broken”, “Ground Zero”, “Believe” and “Nothing”.