Reno’s favorite garage soul singer, Spencer Kilpatrick, is alive and well in Big Water, Utah. We have audio evidence which also explains how a debut single can be a Swan song too.
Spencer plays in a trio named The Windy Mesa House Band with bassist Dani Taylor and drummer Alex Hebert. On Friday, the band released its souled-down version of Billy Swan’s 1974 hit single, “I Can Help.” It was mixed and mastered by Rick Spagnola at Dogwater Studios in Reno.
The band recently played at Reno’s OffBeat Music Festival. It will perform three shows in California: Wild Eye Pub in Grass Valley on Dec. 9; Amado’s in San Francisco on Dec. 10; and Ivy Room in Berkeley on Dec. 12.
A Grass Valley native, UNR graduate and longtime writing contributor to Tahoe Onstage, Kilpatrick might best be known for his time with the band Failure Machine. Or for his sardonicism.
Here’s a review of Windy Mesa House Band’s single by Justin Vellucci of the Pittsburgh Current:
“The Windy Mesa House Band is on a mission from God.
“The stripped-down rhythm and blues trio, which hails not from the streets of Detroit but from Big Water, Utah, is fed up with all this noisy insincerity and wants to inject a little strut and a whole lotta soul back into today’s rock music. The group’s first single, the boozy-to-perfection “I Can Help,” drops online Nov. 19.
“Spencer Kilpatrick is the rag-tag leader of this group of like-minded misfits; he also happens to be the guitarist, the singer and the trio’s de-facto frontman. Bred in Nevada on a steady diet of Otis Redding, Kilpatrick has charted a number of razzle-dazzle hits in his own right – both with Reno-based ensemble MELK and under his own name – but brings something alarmingly unique to The Windy Mesa House Band. He’s got a voice that would make the Devil himself blush, a weathered vocal timbre evocative, somehow, of both Bill Withers and Joe Cocker. And, man, does he make that thing swing.
“Kilpatrick is ably backed by the stalwart rhythm section of newcomer Dani Taylor (her skills sharpened to a potent, dagger-like point during COVID-19 quarantine) and skins-man Alex Hebert. Yes, the reference in the band’s name is to a shuttered club in Arizona. Nope, they’ve never been there.
“In fact, much is wondrous and new about The Windy Mesa House Band. The group debuted recently at the OffBeat Music Festival in Reno and has been itching, like all of us, for the pandemic to end so they can start making a ruckus. A regional tour is in the works for December, followed by recording sessions early next year.
“Kilpatrick and company want you to pause your mess of a life for a moment and listen, really listen, to some good rhythm and blues. It’ll be good for you. In an age where everything seems fucked, it’s a balm, a salve. Leave your ills to The Windy Mesa House Band. Soon enough, you’ll be slinging the Hallelujahs, too.”