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Kinsey Report, Steepwater Band dish new music with local slant

Hailing from Gary brothers Kinsey (starting second from left) are Donald Ralph Kenneth. | Phoprovided

Hailing from Gary, the brothers Kinsey (starting second from left) are Donald, Ralph and Kenneth. | Photo provided

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If you go

What: CD-release party for Steepwater Band’s “Live & Humble”

Where: Double Door, 1551 N. Damen Ave., Chicago

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29

Tickets: $12-$15

Special note: The Muggs and the Nick Moss Band will be supporting acts.

Details: www.steepwater.com

It’s been no fewer than 14 years since the Kinsey Report served up a studio recording of its bluesy offerings.

Well, that lengthy hiatus is over with the Kinsey brothers’ release of “Standing (I’ll Be)” — a four-song compilation that deftly traipses from gritty blues-rock to emotive gospel.

The Gary-bred siblings are using the new music to carry on a family legacy as blues titans in the Steel City.

“It means a lot,” bassist Kenneth Kinsey said of the new release on the band’s RDK label. “We know we should have had a record out sooner than now.”

But Kinsey added that with all “the different trials and tribulations that we’ve been through, we’ve been blessed to survive” and are “still here to do it.”

Kenneth Kinsey is joined on “Standing (I’ll Be)” by brothers Ralph (drums) and Donald (guitar/vocals).

Donald Kinsey was able to wallow in reggae royalty as a member of Bob Marley’s band.

Also noteworthy are the roots of another group of musicians with strong Northwest Indiana ties: the Steepwater Band.

Featuring lead vocalist/guitarist Jeff Massey of Crown Point, the Steepwater Band has a CD-release party for “Live & Humble” on Friday, Nov. 29, at Double Door, one of Chicago’s top nightspots for rock ‘n’ roll.

“We wanted to try and capture what our live show is like in a small club,” Massey said in a recent phone interview.

Also scheduled to be released on vinyl as a double-record set, “Live & Humble” — according to Massey — is all about conveying how he and his bandmates “throw a little improv in there and kind of throw caution to the wind” when performing in front of audiences.

Members of the Steepwater Band built their reputation as a top-flight regional group while living in St. John for a few years.

Meanwhile, the Kinsey Report’s legacy was anchored in the brothers’ father, the late Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey, a Mississippi Delta slide-guitar player who was praised by blues icon B.B. King.

Still living in Northwest Indiana, the Kinsey Report last made waves in the recording studio with the album “Smoke and Steel,” released in the late 1990s by Chicago’s Alligator Records.

On “Standing (I’ll Be),” an extended-play EP, the Kinsey Report tips its hat to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Members Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker with the instrumental “Boogie Diddlin’ “ — a chugging cut laced with Diddley’s signature shuffle-rhythm licks.

“Standing (I’ll Be)” is the title track which delivers the line “defeat is not an option” as fiery encouragement in the face of life’s travails.

“That’s a Kinsey original song,” noted Kenneth Kinsey, a Merrillville resident.

“Nobody’s Fault” changes the pace with a spiritual, slide-guitar feel.

“Ralph is doing the lead vocals on that one,” Kenneth said.

Released to the public this fall, the EP “Standing (I’ll Be)” is available on iTunes and through CD Baby’s website. There is more information at www.thekinseyreportband.com on the musical journey of the Kinseys.

As for the Steepwater Band, “Live & Humble” gets officially released on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

“It was recorded at a place on the north side of Chicago called the Ace Bar,” Massey said.

The album showcases Steepwater’s tight, original American-roots rock, including the banging-and-clanging guitar work on “All the Way to Nowhere.”

Regarding standout tracks, Massey leans toward a certain cut that was written by the band: “One of my favorites is ‘High and Humble,’ which is a song off our last studio record.”

While the Steepwater Band takes pride in self-crafted material, it does make room on “Live & Humble” for some soulful fare from a blues great.

“We put an extended version of John Lee Hooker’s ‘Boom Boom’ on there,” Massey said.



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