Shock it to me: Kathy Murray & the Kilowatts ‘Fully Charged’

Bright new album out of Texas
Bill Jones and Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts light up listeners with “Fully Charged,” 14 bluesy Texas tracks out on Friday on Blue Heart Records.

Not to make light of the wintertime electricity woes in Texas, but Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts have enough juice to brighten the entire Live Music Capital of the World.

“Fully Charged” is an energetic blues party from its first note all the way through 14 songs – 11 originals by Murray and three brilliant covers. The band leader is Bill Jones, who plays guitar, accordion, washboard, and he sings.

After almost four decades on the bandstand Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts are enlightening record listeners to its grooves. Released on Friday, Feb. 18, this one comes on the bootheels of 2018’s “Premonition of Love” and a 2020 Grammy nomination for songwriting.

Turn on “Fully Charged” and ears will remain engaged. The songs are all blues but each with different shades and Texas is shone throughout. This one deserves five Lone Stars. (That’s as big as it gets.) Brass trio The Texas Horns appear on four tracks, and Los Flames barrelhouse piano player Matt Farrell joins the party on an old-timey rocker, “Get Ahold of Yourself.” (Baby!) The fabled little Armadillo World Headquarters is remembered and the Texas Cannonball is honored in “The House That Freddie Built.”

Here’s the part where the writer finds something to criticize. Um … I wish this band had made more than just five records in its 37 years.

Murray’s conversational, purring delivery is a comfort, especially on the cover of Ronnie McDowell’s cover of Doc Pomus’ “Suspicion.” Yep, it’s multilayered. Murray’s wide-ranging voice is made for the stories of blues tunes. As a songwriter, she’s clever, not cliché. She really gets it. Music fans, too, should get “Fully Charged.” When a new listener plugs it in, they will be shocked.

-Tim Parsons

  • Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts
  • ‘Fully Charged’
  • Label: Blue Heart
  • Release: Feb. 18, 2022
  • Favorites: “My Mistake,” “Changing Lanes,” “Suspicion”

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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