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Kyle Hollingsworth - Then There’s Now
CD Review by Jud Conway on 10/13/2009   

String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth has continued to hone his chops and develop his songwriting skills since the band’s hiatus commenced in 2007. Then There’s Now, the much-anticipated second solo album from Hollingsworth, was released on SCI Fidelity Records on September 15th.

Hollingsworth handles keyboards and vocal duties on Then There’s Now, backed by a crack band composed (primarily) of Ryan Jalbert on guitar, Garrett Sayers on bass, and Dave Watts behind the drums. Many will recall Watts from his work on Hollingsworth’s critically-lauded 2004 solo release Never Odd or Even. Guest artists include String Cheese Incident percussionist Jason Hann, DJ Logic (turntables), Liza Oxnard (background vocals), and singer/songwriter Dar Williams, who turns in an inspired co-lead vocal on "Don’t Wake Me".

Splitting the recording time between his own home studio and Immersive Studios in Boulder, Colorado, Hollingsworth wrote the bulk of the album’s tracks during the past few years, citing influences as diverse as Beck and the Beatles. Most apparent, is a melodic sensibility throughout the record that may have resulted, at least in part, from his recent tour with alternative rockers The Fiery Furnaces. It is evident right from the album’s opening track, the electronic-tinged "The Way It Goes," that Hollingsworth has crafted an album that disregards any preconceived notions befitting a release from a String Cheese Incident-affiliated artist. That being said, Then There’s Now does boast tracks reminiscent of Hollingsworth’s semi-retired band, particularly the instrumental numbers "Phat Cat" and "Wide Open."

Other key tracks include the String Cheese Incident-era "Piece of Mine" and the New Orleans-styled funk lament on aging entitled, "Too Young." Then There’s Now closes with the powerful "All Inside," a rousing rocker boasting contributions from four drummers!

On one hand, longtime fans will be thrilled with Hollingsworth for delivering the jams on Then There’s Now. On the other hand, the sonic palate of his latest release may just stir up a new base of fans. Fortunately, for Kyle Hollingsworth there is both a rich legacy of music in his past… and then there’s now.

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