Ballad Of A Prodigal Son is the second solo studio album by Jim Kirkpatrick, who also is the lead guitarist of the hard-rock British band FM. Focusing on a bit of a different crowd than FM’s fan base, Kirkpatrick’s new release is a blues rock oriented album, with a large assortment of powerful guitar riffs. Kirkpatrick assumes the songwriting in 11 of 12 tracks, playing guitar, vocals, and percussion in all the songs, although each one was recorded counting with different side musicians.
The first self-titled track “Ballad Of A Prodigal Son” is a genuine blues rock song with massive strat riffs and powerful vocals. Digging in the same ground, “No Such Thing As A Sure Thing”, written along with FM’s frontman Steve Overland, begins with nice harmonica lines that become a hard guitar riff. Getting a little bit slower, “Ain’t Goin’ Down Alone” has such harmony and backing vocals that highlight the guitar lines and lead vocals.
“Blue Heron Boulevard” is an instrumental track that shows all the influences of the Allman Brothers Band in Kirkpatrick’s approach. In “Be Hard With It” we’re back to the powerful guitar riffs but in this track, the great bass lines are worth noticing. “Skin And Bone, Pt. 2” is another song that puts Kirkpatrick into the riff makers’ gallery.
In recent years, besides FM, Kirkpatrick has been gigging along with Thea Gilmore and Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake). One of the fruits of his work with Bernie is “Always On The Road”, a good mood rock song where the piano and horns do an excellent job. On the other hand, “Brave New World” was written in a partnership with Thea Gilmore, and it contains an important Pink Floyd’s mood.
In “61 & 49” the highlights are the amazing slide guitar lines. “Talk To Me” is a ballad with brokenhearted lyrics and breathtaking solos. The precise rhythm guitar and drums in “Gravy Train” lead backs back into the blues rock realm. The last song is “All You Need Is All You Have”, which is a spirited ballad with introspective lyrics and nice guitar lines played throughout the song ending in a bass solo.
Ballad Of A Prodigal Son is an album that shows Kirkpatrick as a prolific songwriter and riff maker, not only in the hard rock territory, as shown in FM. You can easily see the care in each song, often bringing the guitars to the front line, and giving the necessary worth to the songwriting. For sure, Ballad Of A Prodigal Son is an album where Kirkpatrick put all his talent to serve and legitimize his path as a blues rocker.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Ballad Of A Prodigal Son
– Ain’t Going Down Alone
– Always On The Road
– Grave Train
The Big Hit
– Ballad Of A Prodigal Son