I'm Not Sentimental
ROB KENDT writes songs that critics have called "wonderfully constructed short stories" in a style described as "Tom Waits if he'd never smoked." Ranging freely from lounge pop to alt-country, Kendt has been compared to Ben Folds, Eels, and Rufus Wainwright, Elvis Costello, and Randy Newman. "He makes each song seem like a tale he's telling just for you," wrote Rock City News. I'm Not Sentimental, his new release on Ruby Records, includes the exuberant piano stomp of the title track, featuring Tommy Morgan of Pet Sounds and Rockford Files fame on harmonica; the sleek bossa "Quiet Girl", featuring Bebel Gilberto sideman Danny Frankel on percussion; the country shuffle "Pick Me" and a lounge mash-up of Britney and the Beatles, "Oops I Did Bungalow Bill", both featuring Lyle Lovett and Bill Frisell's bassist, Viktor Krauss; the sprawling "Graded on a Curve", featuring L.A. guitar madman Carey Fosse; a French-café rendition of The Motels' "Only the Lonely", featuring J'Anna Jacoby, the fiddler for Rod Stewart, and diva Abby Travis. Produced by drumming virtuoso Matt North (Hail the Size, Andy Prieboy, Mink Stole) and mastered by Mike Hagler (Wilco, The New Pornographers, Neko Case), I'm Not Sentimental is eclectic in scope but consistent in it's production sound and authorial voice. Like an anthology of short stories, Rob Kendt's new record reads as well as it rocks. That's how it ends The fork in the road bends Unexpected truth reflected Shames your eyes Ask not for whom The bell rang the wrong room Don't mistake a lucky break For blessing in disguise Kendt's first solo album, I Hope It's Me (Ruby, 2002), captured his work with the L.A. pub rock quartet Millhouse, which performed regularly at such venues as 14 Below and The Gig and opened for Dave Wakeling, Mike Watt, and Dread Zeppelin. As a solo artist he's played at The Mint (opening for Louise Goffin and Brother), Fais Do-Do, Les Freres Taix, Highland Grounds, Pete's Candy Store, Night & Day, and Birdland. He's also had a bit of a side career composing and performing music for theater, including at such venues as the Evidence Room, The Mark Taper Forum, Pacific Resident Theatre, The Globe Theatre, and the Metropolitan Playhouse. Guest artists on I'm Not Sentimental: • Bassist Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell, John Fogerty) • Percussionist Danny Frankel (Fiona Apple, Lou Reed, k.d. lang) • Harmonica virtuoso Tommy Morgan (Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman) • Guitarist Carey Fosse (Possum Dixon, Spain, Eugene Chadbourne) • Singer Abby Travis (Lovedolls, Beck, The Bangles) • Violinist J'Anna Jacoby (Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey) • Cellist Matt Fish (Mark Eitzel, John Cale, Alejandro Escovedo) • Pedal steel player Sean Caffey (Gina Villalobo, Suzanna Hoffs) • Keyboardist Kristian Hoffman (The Mumps, Rufus Wainwright, Dave Davies) • Saxophonist Harvey Lane (Fusion, Red Hill) • Mandolinist John Pirruccello (Nicholas Tremulis) • Saxophonist Jeff Turmes (Kid Ramos, Peter Case, The Redwalls) What others have written: "Kendt's songs are each lovely works of literature, wonderfully constructed short stories, the likes of which you would expect to find in The New Yorker... He makes each song seem like a tale he's telling just for you." -Rock City News "[Kendt] plays that good old singer/songwriter style music... sort of Tom Waits meets a (lively) Damien Jurado in a country bar over a pint and a piano style that holds all the emotion without the sappy camp... He also plays piano mash-ups which are awesome." -FreeNYC.net "Imagine a lively quartet... crowded on a stage at the end of a packed room, playing spirited but steady jazz behind a goateed guy in a suit speaking lyrics a step or two away from Beat poetry before sitting down at an upright to throw in his own melodious riffs. A vague approximation of the effect is Tom Waits if he'd never smoked-rich but battered images over a slightly dissonant, swinging background." -Wolfesden.net "There wasn't so much a performance per se as there was a communication with the audience. Kendt displayed a country boy warmth that engaged the crowd... making it seem as if everyone were old friends sharing a good ole time." -Music Connection "A little Brecht and Weill, a touch of Cole Porter, a hint of Randy Newman... Kendt performs tunes that vividly express a wide range of emotions, driven by simple but profound lyrics... smoothly filtered through his potent but easygoing singing style." -Frontiers "But over it all washes onstage piano man Rob Kendt's original score, describable, if you will, as music-noir. It is subtly programmatic, dark but humorous, theatrical but not generic, at times referencing recognizable melodies, at times pleasingly dissonant." -Back Stage West.