Who better to sing soul music than a newly ordained member of the Christian clergy?
Reverend Doctor Kilzer runs the recovery ministry at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Memphis. He refers to music making as his sanctuary and his role as a hip priest certainly adds weight to the line "I'll say a prayer for you" on The American Blues.
Before becoming a man of the cloth he released a number of albums for both major and indie labels. This enabled him to build up a useful contact list of musicians.
Backing him on the project, recorded live in the studio, are a group of esteemed local talent including Steve Selvidge (guitar), Rick Steff (keyboards), drummers Steve Potts and George Sluppick, Dave Smith (bass) and producer Matt Ross-Spang on guitar.
While in what Kilzers calls a "thin place", he had issues of substance abuse and, the message of the title track is that you need to "learn to love your scars".
Although there's a 'I was lost and now I'm found' subtext, this record is not full of praise the Lord propaganda nor are there any gospel songs. Instead, the mood is more akin to that of dusty alt.country ballads and Kilzer's raspy vocals are well suited for this purpose.
In the opening track - Flat Bed Truck - he sings of having just half a tank of gas and 16 bucks" so the extent of his travels is, out of necessity, limited. Still, he's been around enough to know that the key to contentment lies in following what the heart desires. The optimism of tunes like It and Twinkle Of Love contend with challenges along the Dark Highway of life.
This viewpoint offers nothing particularly revelatory but, although some of the metaphors are tired, the singer's heartfelt perspective rings true.