Kenny Butterill… An Americana/Folk Songwriter
Reviews from Kenny’s 3rd CD “Troubadour Tales”
“There is a wonderful artist who should have been included on Eric Clapton’s JJ Cale tribute album, “The Breeze An Appreciation of JJ Cale” – Kenny Butterill, a Canadian Roots singer-songwriter. A soulful musician, Butterill’s music is at the highest level but he is in the second row, so to speak, because he’s mostly known only in the inner circle of Roots industry professionals and fans.
As the ‘Old Sock’ Clapton surrounded himself with only illustrious names like Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler and John Mayer, it was up to the gray-haired Kenny Butterill to bring his own tribute to JJ Cale to the world. And, what a surprise — his “Troubadour Tales” album does indeed sound fresher and in large part less calculated than Clapton’s Superstar parade last summer. Ultimately making it so because with good intentions, Butterill’s “Troubadour Tales” and in particular his JJ Cale tribute song “Hocus Pocus” was recorded three weeks before Cale sadly passed away!
Butterill took a full ten years in stages to make this profound song collection, but that of course does not detract from the enjoyment of this excellent Roots album with its confident calmness and a recognizable Cale’ish laid back feel. In addition, the Canadian proves he can crossover and appeal well to Country and Folk genres just like his other American role models John Prine, Guy Clark and Townes van Zandt. He also has excellent colleagues on this CD like Cindy Cashdollar, Redd Volkaert, Ray Bonneville, Zoe Muth, Audrey Auld and Donovan (yes, that almost forgotten British bard) accompanying him, so befitting – it makes a statement that shouldn’t be ignored.
To the point – Butterill wrote and produced and David Teegarden (Bob Seger) mastered “Troubadour Tales”, a wonderful smorgasbord of selected roots gems that sparkle and while Butterill is somewhat obscure, his heartfelt honesty and intention is certainly no less heart grabbing than Clapton’s well-intentioned homage to the laid back Grand Master.”
– Frank Ipach, Hooked on Music, Germany
“Kenny Butterill may live in California, but his music has the Tulsa sound written all over it. His laid back country blues style shows the heavy influence of J.J. Cale with shades of Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine. Hocus Pocus, in fact, was recorded only three weeks before Cale’s passing in July 2013. “They say he’s the best in this ‘ole land, ‘cause he’s the Hocus Pocus Magic Mojo Music Man.” It doesn’t hurt that Tulsa’s own David Teegarden mastered this CD at Natura Digital Studios …. Scottish folk-pop troubadour Donovan makes a special guest appearance on this album, which is filled with jewels. Kenny Butterill is a genuine wordsmith creating original, sensitive, warm and memorable songs, with a host of talented musicians contributing to this album.”
– Bill Martin, Blues News, The Blues Society of Tulsa
JJ Cale’s long-time colleague and friend, producer David Teegarden, who mastered Kenny Butterill’s Troubadour Tales CD in Tulsa, shared that “It was an honor to work with Kenny. This is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard – I know Cale would have liked it too”! “
– David Teegarden, Producer
“Butterill’s players – including Redd Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, veteran Canadian guitarist Ray Bonneville, and multi-instrumentalist Kenny Feinstein – match the soft-spoken singer/songwriter like a tailored suit. Bonneville’s electric solo in “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here” is a prime example. As producer and artist, Butterill puts together the elements that show him at his best.”
– Rick Allen, Vintage Guitar Magazine
“In the songs from Canadian Americana songwriter Kenny Butterill’s third album there is no question as to what you’re getting: a collection of songs from a seasoned industry veteran. While Butterill doesn’t invent something new here – his not afraid to be honest and pay tribute to his obvious heroes – in the end he makes it all right. And his heroes deserve to be recognized: from folk legend Donovan who contributed to a duet on the album, JJ Cale-producer David Teegarden who mastered the album, to the Cale tribute song “Hocus Pocus”, and a tribute to Butterill’s old friend, recently deceased Willie P Bennett. At the same time, Butterill is also different: from “Cyrano’s Song” is a fresh take on the Cyrano de Bergerac story to “Flying with Buddha” which opens with Tibetan monks chanting to and is about the spiritual reflection of death and rebirth. Technically, the whole album is cleanly recorded and produced, so in the final result is well rounded. For Americana friends who are looking for alternatives to established and traditional artists, Butterill is strongly recommended.”
– Ullrich Maurer, Germany
“Ten years can be an eternity in the life of a musician. And if this time corresponds to a recording silence, it is almost normal that you are forgotten and go into oblivion.
Troubadour Tales represents the return of Canadian singer and songwriter Kenny Butterill (residing in Northern California) of considerable caliber, the third chapter in a career revitalized by this record that deserves the attention of fans of Americana music who are into real talent . The album has a full slate of celebrity guests, passionate stories of real life, a warm sound and modulated such that it does not hide the influences of Kenny Butterill, who include Gordon Lightfoot, JJ Cale, John Prine and Donovan who is a special guest of these sessions.
Folk, blues, then Americana, played by a confident voice and passionate through all twelve songs (plus one bonus track) produced with care and taste by the same Kenny Butterill and recorded between Los Gatos, California and studios in Nashville, Austin and Vancouver among others.
Butterill has surrounded himself with extraordinary collaborators such as Cindy Cashdollar, the magician of the electric guitar Redd Volkaert, David Grier acoustic guitar, Rob Ickes excellent dobro player already with Blue Highway, John Reischman on mandolin, the Canadian bluesman Ray Bonneville and the voices of Audrey Auld, Zoe Muth and the mourned Sarah Elizabeth Campbell. The result is a work with various sounds whether paying homage to JJ Cale as in “Hocus Pocus” and in “Good Thing That Could not Happen Here”, or close to the Mexican border in “Pajaro Dunes”, celebrating extraordinary Canadian singer-songwriter Willie P. Bennett in “Willie We Miss You”, combining folk and blues in “True North”, meeting country music in “Dead End Of the Dirt Road”, then more acoustic and closer to his roots as in “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told”.
This Troubadour Tales album is compact yet highly successful, intelligent and full of memorable lyrics that make it positive and enjoyable, right from the first listen.”
– Remo Ricaldone, The Long Journey – Roots and Country Music, Italy
“Sometimes you have to be careful not to overlook something, or in case of music ‘overlisten’ it, as is the case with this Kenny Butterill album, who makes quiet country songs that, if you’re not paying attention, can get lost in the background. But, when you listen more carefully you’ll hear how good those songs are, how good the band is that supports Kenny and you’ll turn up the music to really enjoy the music.
Because every song on Troubadour Tales is good! Sometimes with surprising guest appearances from for example Donovan on harmonica in the song Gaia Blues (in which you also hear the great Ray Bonneville on guitar). Surprising and extremely good. Cindy Cashdollar on steel guitar also joins Butterill on the album and John Lee Sanders makes the Hammond B3 organ sound amazing, like it should!
Butterill sings relaxed and good, in some songs supported by guest singers, he plays guitar and he wrote all the incredible songs on this strong album. Which is particularly good because of the laid back vibe the music gives you, even though the musicians are extremely on point. The incredible way this album is recorded makes it very interesting and entertaining to listen to. A great album and an absolute must have!.”
– Moorsmagazine, Netherlands
“Smooth and mellow are the words that first come to mind hearing Kenny Butterill’s new disc. He’s definitely that kind of guy. The Ajax-born, Ottawa-raised singer/songwriter has made a career of country living and avoiding the centres of the music business, preferring Northern California. He just concentrates on writing songs and recording them with the best mu sicians he can find. He finds some great ones. The most prominent one on the latest disc is ’60s icon Donovan Leitch , who adds a great mellow harmonica and helped mix the track Gaia Blues, which also has some silky bluesy guitar by Ray Bonneville and superb back ing vocals by Zoe Muth. That kind of smooth , lived-in playing is all over the record by the likes of Red Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, John Lee Sanders, Jim Norris, Jim Lewin, David Grier, John Reischman, Washboard Hank, Harpin’ Jonny, and others. Other sweet highlights are Cyrano’s Song, Pajaro Dunes, Hocus Pocus, The Greatest Love Story Never Told, and True North. Every song contains something worth listening to: a nicely phrased guitar passage, a gorgeous harmonica riff, or an interesting lyric, and all of it is as comfortable and relaxed as a favourite flannel shirt. Nice stuff.”
– Barry Hammond, PenguinEggs, Canada
“Welcome to these tales of life and love, brought down to me on the wings of a dove.” So writes Canadian singer-songwriter Kenny Butterill who now lives in Northern California, on the inside cover of his new album Troubadour Tales, a CD with twelve wonderful stories of his own. Some of the songs have a JJ Cale feel, and he even pays homage to the deceased troubadour with “Hocus Pocus”, which Butterill wrote three weeks before JJ Cale died in 2013.
A great role on this song by John Lee Sanders on Hammond organ. On “Troubadour tales” Butterill is joined by a variety of musicians, including Ray Bonneville (electric guitar and harmonica), Redd Volkaert (electric guitar), Cindy Cashdollar (steel guitar), Jim Lewin (acoustic guitar) and Jim Norris (drums). A special guest is Donovan. The Scottish troubadour of the sixties (Universal Soldier, Colours, Catch the Wind) plays harmonica on Gaia Blues, a song which is further enhanced by the beautiful harmony vocals by Zoe Muth. “Flying With Buddha” begins with the chanting of Tibetan monks, a nice up tempo track with a prominent piano by John Lee Sanders. “Pajaro Dunes” is a gem, with Spanish guitar Joe Weed, the accordion Jim Oakden and harmony vocals Katie Kendall-Weed. “Dead End Of The Dirt Road” is a bluegrass song with Washboard Hank on washboard and banjo and singing with Kenny Butterill is Audrey Auld. A special song is “Willie We Miss Ya”, a tribute to Willie P. Bennett, one of Kenny’s biggest supporters who died in 2008. The album closes with an additional bonus track “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”, that is dedicated to, among others, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky and former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
We had to wait ten years, but with his third album “Troubadour Tales” Kenny Butterill has for me hit the mark again. Lovers of nice laid back Americana, folk, blues, roots, alt country, not to mention JJ Cale, can indulge in this wonderful album.”
– Gerrit Schinkel, BluesMagazine
“Kenny Butterill “TROUBADOUR TALES” just a true honest set of songs. Touches on what’s going on in our wonderful planet, and highlight’s our plight as slaves to the system. Just remember the great protest music of the 60s and 70s, well it’s still around, you just have to listen a little bit harder.
“TROUBADOUR TALES” [is] a collection of songs Butterill has sketched over many years, Butterill writes close to the heart and this is echoed in this topical creation. “TROUBADOUR TALES” is a brilliant contribution to the recent push to encourage observation, comment and action on world events and the human state, and in so doing, it offers a retrospective of Butterill’s study.
In current reviews Butterill has been hailed “the romantic poet of Americana music”… brimming with absorbing melodies and down-to-earth vocals. “TROUBADOUR TALES” displays Butterill’s individual, sensitive and diverse song-writing skills. Butterill continues to forge his own path, delivering musical magic that truly unites Alternative, Roots, Americana, Country and Folk-Blues music fans over the world. Great Music, you’ll love it.“
– Dave, Jupiter Smith
“Kenny Butterill’s third album is fittingly entitled Troubadour Tales. He’s a veteran roots music singer/songwriter/producer, and he delivers a subtle gem here. It took ten years to create and used that many studios, but is well worth the wait. Long based in northern California, Butterill has kept ties with Canadian musicians, and the album features such notable countrymen as Ray Bonneville and Linda McRae. American guests include Cindy Cashdollar while the legendary Donovan guests on “Gaia Blues”. The focus throughout is on Butterill’s warm and laidback vocals (JJ Cale is a common reference point) and perceptive lyrics that oft include social commentary, as on “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”. A lovely tribute to our late great Willie P. Bennett, “Willie We Miss Ya”, is a highlight of a record lacking lowlights. He played four Ontario dates in November.”
– Kerry Doole, NewCanadianMusic.ca, Canada
“A disc every ten years is already a way to declare the strangeness of the world of music business today, otherwise I think we would have had more news from Kenny Butterill after his “Just A Songwriter” CD. Someone malicious might think that if it took him so long, perhaps there were also artistic reasons: I do not want to convince you that this Canadian, who retired in the woods in Northern California for twenty years, is some kind of a unknown singer songwriter, because that’s not the case, and the fact that he produced a disc with musicians such as Cindy Cashdollar (formerly with Bob Dylan), Ray Bonneville, Redd Volkaert (former guitarist for Merle Haggard), Zoe Muth and Rob Ikes is not a privilege for everyone. From the list I have deliberately kept in the background the most famous, who also helps by making his cameo appearance more important in Troubadour Tales: This is Donovan, blowing the harmonica in the ecological song Gaia Blues.
The album was recorded in several studios spread between California, Texas, Nashville and his native Canada, but the album does not suffer at all from this myriad of recording locations, but rather can claim the honor of best uniformity of sound, country blues slightly electrified and down home flavored roots which is the essence of the Americana tradition. Butterill’s voice is a bit low and subtle: put in these terms it does not appear as a great compliment, but a recurring feature on tracks such as the political satirical commentary Good Thing That Could Not Happen Here or Old Man and the Kid is the unique “laid back” Southern feel, with JJ Cale as a clear point of reference. It is so true that Butterill, playing his cards face up on the table, pays tribute to Cale in Hocus Pocus, a song that could belong to the same Cale, recorded three weeks before the death of the latter, we are informed in the notes of the disc. Ranging from social issues, food for spiritual (Flying with Buddha) and letters (the uplifting Cyrano’s Song), Troubadour Tales is one of those inconspicuous works from someone too “reclusive,” who, however, makes up for with skill by a true craftsmen with timeless passion.
And in any case, if you love to listen to the paths of tradition (as we assume you are reading these pages), here you will find enclosed instrumental music of the highest quality and ease of mind: the winds of the border between the accordion and the Spanish guitar from Pajaro Dunes, a place actually located on the Pacific coast, the classic country cottage described in Dead End of the Dirt Road, the fantastic blusey song True North (JJ Cale lurking in the guitar), then the acoustic Woman in a Canoe, to the memory of another forgotten hero, his compatriot Willie P. Bennett, who Butterill evokes in Willie We Miss Ya, who already in his time he was honored in the band Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. This is an album that does not sound subversive not even in the Americana genre, but which has crossed a larger artistry.”
– Davide Albini, Roots Highway, Italy
“True to the German phrase “Good things take time”, the latest release “Troubadour Tales” from Canadian singer / songwriter / producer KENNY BUTTERILL has been ten years in the making. The album delivers a warm, relaxing, easy and enjoyable feel to listen to. Recorded this year in eight different studios, the result is a masterpiece of melodies and performances that should be considered one of the best Americana releases of 2014. Among the brilliant guest musicians who contributed to this highly recommended album are Donovan, Cindy Cashdollar, Audrey Auld, Redd Volkaert and Zoe Muth.”
– Max W. Achatz, COUNTRY JUKEBOX, Germany
“Kenny Butterill is where he is supposed to be and doing what he is supposed to be doing … Kenny Butterill is a troubadour in the true sense of the word… It took a long while for him to get to this stage (10 years between albums) but he is here now and poised to grab the prize … The new Kenny Butterill album “Troubadour Tales” is the man at his best.”
– Don Graham, Cashbox, Canada
“California based Canadian singer/songwriter with his third album of Americana, folk, roots, alt-country and bluesy music which is influenced by J J Cale, Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine.This beguiling CD is packed full of easy rolling songs and vivid imagery of life, love and death etc. which justify the album’s 10 years in the making. Opening track “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here” is a satirical blast at the attitudes of government and big business towards democracy and citizen’s rights with great playing from Ray Bonneville on harmonica and guitar and John Lee Sanders on piano. The album is packed with 20 or so world class musicians and one of Butterill’s hero’s Donovan adds superb harmonica to the lovely “Gaia Blues”. The gently rolling tale “The Old Man And The Kid” features wonderful mandolin and fiddle from Kenny Feinstein who also co-wrote this song with Butterill. “Flying With Buddha” is a spiritual song which starts with a Tibetan Monks chant before a speedy shuffle beat comes in as Butterill relates the vagaries of life, love, death and reincarnation. Butterill’s masterful songwriting and inviting melodies plus his warm laid back vocals make for a rewarding listen. The speedy minor chord shuffle “Hocus Pocus” is a tribute/homage to JJ Cale who passed away three weeks after this fine song was recorded. This is music where folk, blues and country are put into a blender and come out as a genre which is dripping in class and invites the listener to sit back, drink in hand, and wallow in enjoyment. The dreamy, romantic and inspirational “Woman In A Canoe” is a beautiful ballad which rounds out this wonderful album. Thoroughly recommended.”
– Blue Matters, UK
“Butterill, the exact opposite of Mellencamp (the other artist reviewed in this issue), has been active for decades but remains a secret except for those with inside the music business. The songs on his latest CD were ten years in the making and recorded together with many well-known musicians in several different studios. His style recalls – consciously – the recently deceased JJ Cale in the opening of the CD with the song “Good Thing That Could Not Happen Here”; it is reminiscent of “Call Me The Breeze “. All the songs are all finely arranged, Butterill himself is not a shouter but rather a reluctant singer who brings and shares his deep feeling while singing rather than just expressing his songs. The songs themselves are about and full of life and are comparable to the works of Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Richard Dobson and Steve Gillette.”
– Paul Rostetter, Brambus Records, Switzerland
“… Like a painter expresses himself through his colors, Kenny expresses himself through his music, wonderful compositions, fine lyrics and instruments … as on his previous albums Kenny has painted some wonderful pictures again. Kenny is an observer, an onlooker. Like a troubadour in the old days singing and traveling form castle to castle telling his stories on all kinds of events, Kenny tells us his stories on love, on relations, on politics.”
– Martin van der Laan, Radio Compagnie, The Netherland
“This Canadian songwriter and folk singer is in the tradition of Ian & Sylvia and Gordon Lightfoot but his influences also include Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and Donovan, who appears here with him on harmonica in “Gaia Blues” dedicated to the patron goddess of the Earth. Kenny Butterill surrounded himself with country musicians of high quality: Cindy Cashdollar (Dylan, Asleep At The Wheel, Ray Benson) for pedal steel, Rob Ikes the dobro, guitarist Redd Volkaert and Ray Bonneville. Three songs are in laid-back style like JJ Cale while “Old Man & The Kid” remembers “Tennessee Stud” by Eddie Arnold. “Cyrano’s Song” dedicated to Roxanne and Cyrano de Bergerac is personal and innovative and “Pajaro Dunes” is a country-mariachi dedicated to a heavenly place near Santa Cruz. “Woman In A Canoe” is a requiem brought to life in the painting by Californian Richard Bennett. The painting itself owes much to “Nude Descending a Staircase.” Kenny Butterill did a great album, he is one artist we would like to see on stage in the country of festivals next summer.”
– Romain Decoret, Guitarist & Bass Magazine, France
“The songs of Kenny Butterill gather sounds and styles together as a late afternoon watering hole for Americana, Folk, Rock’n’Roll, Alt Country and all the various children created in late night jams. Kenny Butterill is a singer/songwriter who follows the lead of peers such as Gordon Lightfoot , John Prine and J.J. Cale. Easy story telling vocals that glide like volcano honey over the rumble and sway in the rhythm of the tracks. Kenny Butterill has released “Troubadour Tales” from a personal collection of stories-as-poetry from the past ten years, the songs show Kenny’s past, present and future observations. Troubadour Tales was mastered by David Teagarden, taken from seven different recording locales. The album is the third for Kenny Butterill and brings in guest performances from Donovan, Cindy Cashdollar, the late Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, John Lee Sanders, Ray Bonneville, Rob Ickes, David Grier, John Reishman, Washboard Hank and Linda McRae among others.
Kenny Butterill rides a Tulsa train track groove into the album with “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”, delivers “Greatest Love Story Never Told” as a western tale baked with rock meat, moves the tone of temple bells aside for some country boogie in “Flying with Buddha”, blurs the breathy beat of “Hocus Pocus” with folk psychedelics and abides the spirits of Texas singer/songwriters with “Gaia Blues” Kenny Butterill is a serious student of the universe with his research and allegiance to Eastern mysticism, mythology, social justice, politics and red wine. He lives in the backwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, spending part of the year in his homeland at his Balsam cottage north of his Toronto, Canada.”
– Danny McCloskey, The Alternative Root
“…really nailed the “in the pocket” rolling blues/roots sound and there is some very cool playing on the songs. Not a bad cut on the CD in my opinion.”
– Brian Bourgoin, WCNI Music Director, Connecticut College, New London CT
“Canadian singer-songwriter, Kenny Butterill displays a wonderful, cool as they come mastery on this album. Recorded in no less than ten different studios it has something of a who’s who list of pickers back him up. “Troubadour Tales” is Butterill’s third album, and as already noted he must have something going for him because not everyone can call on musicians of the calibre of Redd Volkaert, Ray Bonneville, Cindy Cashdollar, Kenny Feinstein, David Grier, John Reischman, Rob Ickes, Jim Norris, John lee Sanders, Jim Lewin (and others) and Donovan even, plus vocals from the delightful Zoe Muth, Audrey Auld and recently deceased Texas favourite Sarah Elizabeth Campbell.
There is a wonderful feel good factor about the record, everything is so relaxed, organic, and with him much influenced by the late JJ Cale (he dedicates a song to the great man in “Hocus Pocus”) the listener is in for a rare treat. The former has that JJ loping shuffle, chugging along it also has that typical restless hungry feel. Butterill speaks of Cale putting on shows with a cool guitar, and how he was the best in the land, the hocus pocus magic mojo music man. Though good, and effective it isn’t the best track on the album. Not by a long way, it finds itself looking up at “Cyrano’s Song” (sounds very much like a song from Dirk Powell’s great new record) and “Old Man and the Kid” with a wonderful, hooky rhythmic beat and harmonica, mandolin, electric and steel guitar plus harmony vocals (Feinstein, Katie Kendall-Weed) it flows seamlessly. In part the song reminds me of Hot Club Of Cowtown’s wonderful version of Tom Waits’ “The Long Journey Home”; like many more songs on the record it is a really good one. Another big song, and one with a huge JJ Cale influence is the superb opening track “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here”; Cale would have been proud to have written this one! What a groove, and it has for company the chugging, harmonica aided (Donovan) and harmony vocals (Muth) warmed “Gaia Blues”.
Easing through the record you have the likes of “Greatest Love Story Never Told” and on taking a trip into the backwoods “Dead End Of The Dirt Road” (written with Washboard Hank; who plays washboard, naturally and banjo on the track) and with time running out the penultimate track “Willie We Miss Ya” has him pay tribute to the late, fellow Canadian musician Willie P. Bennett. A stalwart of the Canadian musician scene he is someone I first took notice of many years ago.“Woman In A Canoe” is a pretty song, and contains the sublime mandolin (Reischman) and Dobro (Ickes) as the wistful story unfolds to close the record. Only for an extended version (UK version only) of “Good Thing….” pops up as a bonus track, I could not think of a more deserving song to be handed the privilege.”
– Maurice Hope,Flying Shoes, UK
“I had always felt that J.J. Cale and occasionally Eric Clapton were the acceptable face of laid back, mellow music but it seems Kenny Butterill can now be added to that minimal list! He is an excellent songwriter, talented producer and the possessor of a warm laid back vocal style that, importantly, can give a little edge to his beautifully arranged songs. The instrumentation is just about perfect as a background to this rolling, highly listenable style of music. I have never really gone for the more mellow generic strands before, other than the two aforementioned, but this really is an excellent album that I will in all probability keep returning to for a very long time. Stylistically he is very much his own man and as in the case of the late J.J. his music contains everything from folk and country to blues but all put into the blender, coming out the other side as a fully formed genre of its own. If you want a change from listening to raw edgy hillbillyness but to stay within hailing distance you won’t find better than this!”
– Mike Morrison, American Roots, UK
“…there is finally again news from this superlative man. And how! “Troubadour Tales” is nothing less than a superior Americana CD. Captivating from minute one to minute forty-nine. Completely filled with incredible songs – jam-packed to the brim with gems … Butterill produced this musical masterpiece filled with only original songs, himself … Not a single bad note on this album if you ask us! Exactly as it should after such a long absence ….”
– Benny Metten, Ctrl.Alt.Country, Belgium (4 stars)
“What a musical gem! Kenny is on the short list of singer songwriters who are able to record a whole album without a weak song, with just potential hits, with songs that seem to be familiar even after just a couple of listens. It seems so easy, obvious, this album will last as a reference …his voice on all these killer melodies, the musicians behind, .. everything is made with a high sense of good taste … Butterill made the perfect album.”
– Mike ‘the DJ’ Pennard Lhuis, France
“… you will not be surprised by his superb feel for a leisurely, hypnotic groove. This style, as with JJ Cale, maximizes the lyrics … Butterill offers some profound songs that range from political satire to romantic escapism.”
– John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music September 2014 (4 stars)
“I really like the title of this album for it describes what is hidden in the CD. Stories from a Canadian troubadour. That Butterill sometimes sounds like JJ Cale did is nothing that Butterill denies, and on this album he has even a Cale tribute song “Hocus Pocus”. The songs were recorded at different locations with different musicians. Ray Bonneville and Red Volkaert especially excel on guitar. Best track: “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here.”
– Månadens music review, Sweden
“After a 10-year hiatus since his last album, Northern California based Canadian roots/Americana songwriter Kenny Butterill has released his third album. As in the past he has put together another well-rounded collection of heartfelt tunes that will appeal to any music fan looking for straight ahead folk balladry. This time out Butterill is accompanied by none other than Donovan Leitch as the crown prince of the Sixties golden era of British folk psychedelia contributes some fine harmonica work on the thought-provoking ‘Gaia Blues.’ Another undoubted highlight here is Butterill’s affectionate, though grieving tribute, to the late and vastly underrated Canadian songsmith Willie P. Bennett. Although it was recorded in studios from California to Manhattan, the steadfast warmth of Butterill’s vocals holds Troubadour Tales together nicely.”
– Rod Nicholson,The Scene, London, ON Canada
“Troubadour Tales is a rich and keen offering, reliant on nothing but talent. Kenny Butterill is a singer, songwriter and a producer of considerable ability. The needed proof is this album took so long to make. Perfection takes time.”
– George Peden, NutsAboutCountry.com
“Other new music worth mentioning are: Kenny Butterill has nailed the JJ Cale sound on his new CD “Troubadour Tales”
– Tim Little, KRVM 91.9FM, Routes and Branches Show, Eugene, OR
“2014 was a good year for JJ Cale fans the world over – Eric Clapton released “The Breeze”, a CD of just JJ Cale cover songs. But it was Kenny Butterill who gave us the ultimate tribute about our hero with his homage song ABOUT the great JJ Cale – “Hocus Pocus” (recorded three weeks before Cale’s passing!). With his new Troubadour Tales CD, Kenny has mastered the JJ Cale feel and groove like no one else, ensuring the Cale legacy lives on forever. The mantle has been passed to a worthy soul – Kenny’s time has come: sit back and savor his music… this is pure organic, grain fed music… no genetic modification, nothing artificial… enjoy!”
– Gerard Walter, Abu Dhabi, UAE
“This album took about ten years to complete…and the timing of the release couldn’t be better. Interest in Americana/pop music is now at an all-time high. So we’d guess that Troubadour Tales will be welcomed with open arms. Canada’s Kenny Butterill (who also lives in Northern California) has a nice friendly sound and his songs come across sounding completely genuine and honest. The press release that accompanied this disc stated that Kenny’s influences include J.J. Cale, Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, and Donovan Leitch (who appears as a guest artist on the tune “Gaia Blues”). We can hear traces of all of these artists (and more) in these tracks. Butterill’s songs are built around a gently strummed acoustic guitar and his melodies flow by like a cool mountain stream. More than twenty musicians lent their talents here so it may surprise some that these cuts have a nice sparse overall sound. This album is housed in a beautifully designed digipak sleeve complete with a thick lyric booklet that makes it easy to read along with each song. This one’s bound to go over big with anyone who loves good solid folk/pop and/or Americana. Thirteen cool tracks including “Good Thing That Couldn’t Happen Here,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Dead End of the Dirt Road,” and “Woman In A Canoe.”
– www.babysue.com, USA
“The songs on this album are quiet, laid back, warm and pleasantly presented in terms of singing and music. Examples include the opening song “Good Thing That Could Happen Here” and also “Flying With Buddha” which begins with a chant of Tibetan monks and both songs really sound like something from JJ Cale.”
– Freddy Celis, www.rootstime.be, Belgium
“There is a time in every artist’s career when they are at the top of their game. For Kenny Butterill that time is now! He has a voice that captivates an audience completely, weaving a delightful message lyrically that sends the listener down a long, dusty road or beside the still waters of a Canadian lake. His guitar work is effortless and the notes that resonate from the strings are an integral part of each of his compositions, painting pictures for the listener. Butterill is a timeless classic who is surely festival bound with this latest offering.”
– Brent Jeffries, The Sun Times and Soundwaves-Georgian Bay Folk Society, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Reviews from Kenny’s 2nd CD “Just A Songwriter”
“Imagine Dire Straits going acoustic and teaming up with John Prine for an authentic touch of alt-country Americana, then rounding out the party with Gordon Lightfoot adding sensitive folkie lyrics. That’s just hinting at the sound of Butterill, a singer-songwriter who lives in Northern California.”
– Philip Bast, The Record, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
“…. 60 minutes of class material ! The title ‘Just A Songwriter‘ should be understood only as total Understatement – this is laid back Americana at its very best!! Brilliant.”
– Glitterhouse, Germany
“Songwriter/Producer Kenny Butterill delivers mesmerizing Alt.Country/Roots magic on this album. Definitely in my Top 10!”
– Dallas Dobro, Strawberry Music Festival and one of the KFAT and KPIG Radio Pioneers (California, USA)
“Kenny Butterill is a sincere, hard-working songwriter whose work deserves wider recognition. I especially like his recordings with Ray Bonneville.”
– Holger Peterson, Stony Plain Records (Canada)
“Just A Songwriter“ is really a gem and it is destined to become one of the best efforts released by a contemporary songwriter from North America in recent times. Click here for the full review.
– Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazio, Italy
“Just A Songwriter is the newest CD from one of North America’s best-kept secrets. Kenny Butterill is that secret. He is clever and original, both in his sound and songwriting … capable of taking his listeners down a dusty back road through the mountains or walking down the beach near his friend’s beach house. His sound is effortless and his words echo off the strings of his guitar like a voice in a canyon, rich and natural … His music is thought provoking and at the same time calming … It is surprising that Butterill does not like to tour, preferring to stay close to his home and guitar, for surely he would be playing to sold out audiences! However given the choice of touring town to town or sitting on the decks of Santa Cruz, I would probably take the decks, too!”
– Brent Jeffries, Summerfolk SOUND WAVES, Georgian Bay Folk Society, Owen Sound, ON. Canada.
“Over the past year, Sisyphus Tracks – the community-style web radio operation for which I serve as Program Director – has played many outstanding 2003 roots/folk releases from some of Canada’s biggest names, including Neil Young, Fred Eaglesmith, Kathleen Edwards, and the Be Good Tanyas, as well as the excellent Gordon Lightfoot tribute from Borealis/Northern Blues that includes covers by the Cowboy Junkies, Jesse Winchester, Bruce Cockburn and Ron Sexsmith. However, a lesser-known artist from the Great White North – Kenny Butterill – picked up a lot of new fans in 2003 with his Just A Songwriter CD, and deserves consideration along with his more famous countrymen when awards time rolls around.” Click here for the full review.
– Mike Westerfield, Sisyphus Tracks, Nashville, TN
“As I was starting this review, a DJ friend sent me a link for a company that has purportedly developed technology that can measure the “hit potential” of a song using “mathematical patterns.” Poke around the site and you’ll see claims that attempt to refute my initial thought that this is just the next step in the strip-malling of U.S. radio. They don’t claim to have all the answers, conceding that promotion and expert opinion matter too. Missing almost totally is any mention of lyrics, only discussing them in the context of the “rare” song that didn’t fit their expected patterns, but somehow still became a hit. I can’t refute that the musical melody matters since only about a thousandth of my music collection is sung a capella, but I remain skeptical that this new “science” is a good thing. Thinking about this article while analyzing the lyrics of “Just A Songwriter” sent my thoughts wandering down a long, tangential path as I considered the difference between good art and what some would argue is good business. I’ll spare you the full play-by-play. Chances are your thoughts will go down the same path as you consider Kenny Butterill’s story.”
– Al Kunz, Rockzillaworld
“… A Canadian living in the U.S., Butterill is all the things a songwriter should be: original, sensitive, perceptive, warm, slyly humorous, and above all, memorable. He’ll have no trouble pitching this group of songs, either. He’s also an outstanding producer, adding enough other musical touches (besides his own fine acoustic guitar picking), from backing musicians with solid feel, to sell the song without overdoing it. The soulful Gotta Find a Woman, with its backing choir, and the bluesy sax on Making Love In L.A. are classic examples, though the title track is a winner, too. Anyone looking for some good songs should check out Kenny Butterill’s repertoíre. He’s got the stuff”.
– Barry Hammond, Penguin Eggs, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“The coyote howls lonely and long, sagebrush rolls, dust devils twist, the evening air is perfumed with white sage and an old Indian on horseback is silhouetted against a new risen moon. Butterill is a songwriter set for these vistas. He has a soft Mark Knopfler-esque voice with an evocative and expressive delivery. The songs of Just A Songwriter are bluesy, drifting on currents of air like dust motes and throwing out sparks of inspiration. Softly country with restraint and introspection, each song is a visuality. Kenny lets us in as he dips “paintbrushes into my soul, just me and my guitar.” Visitations from Norton Buffalo’s high lonesome harmonica and Ken’s friends like Joe Weed and Ray Bonneville fill in smoothness like a satin sheet, rumpled with the night’s exertions. There are loving nights and empty days, road trips and trying to move on. Visions of being “on the right track, ain’t no looking back, partners in the game, riding destiny’s train” smoothly flow from lover’s games and hard stares into a cold mirror. Butterill takes the heart on a journey, his band is a partner in a Dire Straits kind of way and the world is just outside. Fine like warm candle light reflected through crystal and the crimson of Cabernet suffusing excellently moving alt country folk poetry.”
– Mark Gresser, Music Matters Review
“… Butterill combines the Americana flavors of Texas country, blues, soft jazz, folk and modern country to serve up a very tasty roots mélange that is attracting him a larger and larger following of music lovers who are disenfranchised by the watered down 80s pop rock that Nashville calls country.” Click TheIslander for full review.
– Matthew Permar, The Islander, St. Simons Island, GA.
“Kenny Butterill’s music insinuates itself into your being in such a warmly pleasant, hypnotic way. His songs evoke the feeling of being tucked in a lower berth as the Sunset Limited lances through the darkness, clickety-clacking its way across America. One listen to his Just A Songwriter CD and you’ll fall under his spell.”
– John Lomax III, Roots Music Exporters, Nashville, TN
“Canadian Kenny Butterill’s second release Just A Songwriter is a no-nonsense collection of well-written and smoothly delivered songs. Kenny has a laid-back voice and a down home bluesy writing style. The album features some of Canada’s best musicians, including Willie P. Bennett on mandolin, and some spectacular harmonica playing by Norton Buffalo. Of particular note is the last cut on the CD, ‘The Townes You Left Behind’, an ode to Townes Van Zandt. Haunting lyrics and clean guitar playing are reminiscent of Townes’ style and explore the art and impact of songwriting.”
– Janet Humphrey, Victory Music Review, Tacoma, WA
“Kenny Butterill is one of those songwriter types who don’t seem to be around much anymore. He writes songs with great stories, and delivers them with a no-frills attitude and singing voice. It’s all laid out there for you to see and hear and a close listen will have most people agreeing he’s good at what he does. Kenny’s songs can be reflective, like the wonderful ‘My Austin Angel’ and ‘Is There More?’ He can tickle your funny bone too, with stuff like ‘Vegetarian Dead Cow Blues’ and the clever title cut. Fans of the late Townes Van Zandt will know immediately what ‘The Townes You Left Behind’ is about. Kenny’s voice has a laid-back charm that is often overlooked in this day and age of the shouter. The music matches that mood …. There’s also killer lead guitar throughout. Ray Bonneville shines on the title cut with very percussive work that supplies the song with its killer feel. The acoustic solo on ‘My Austin Angel’ (Peter Morrison) is marvelous, almost reminding one of the work on Marty Robbins ‘El Paso’. There’s nice work on guitar on almost every cut here. And the feel of most is a perfect match for Butterill’s songwriting and singing. This is a fine one if you’re one of those who miss good songwriters just doing their thing. Kenny obviously has been at his trade for a while and knows what he’s doing.”
– John Heidt, Vintage Guitar
“Kenny Butterill’s “Just A Songwriter“ title is a bit misleading. Kenny is not just a songwriter, but also an excellent vocalist. This album has it all, Blues, Country and Roots Rock. What a gifted performer Kenny Butterill is. Radio has no reason not to play this record. There is a song on this CD for every genre and music fan. Plus every cut is in the pocket.”
– Robert Bartosh, Roots Music Report
” … Songs are solid in a Townes and Mickey Newbury sort of way and while Butterill’s voice is on the plain side, it brings an everyman quality to his songs making them much more easy to relate to. There is a lot of emotional ground covered here and Butterill does a fine job of conveying deep heart-rending emotions in his songs. An excellent album. Butterill may feel he’s just a songwriter, but in my world, there’s no occupation more deserving of praise.”
– Scott Homewood, FreightTrainBoogie.com
“Music made while sitting down is best enjoyed similarly. Kenny Butterill’s languorous songs are like that. Sometimes slow and quietly deliberate, other times breaking into a slow trot. Butterill’s “Just A Songwriter” is alt-country, folk and blues all folded into each other, anchored by Butterill’s intimate soulful vocals. It also helps that good friends like Willie P. Bennett, Norton Buffalo and Ray Bonneville all drop by to assist. And while his vocals on his last disc echoed Mark Knopfler’s to an occasionally distracting degree, “Just A Songwriter” finds Butterill’s honey smooth voice evolving into its own. Like it’s predecessor, “No One You Know“, this is a note-perfect soundtrack for long, warm summer evenings.
– Bob Klanec, The Scene, London, Ontario, Canada
“The new CD from Kenny Butterill takes you on a trip though the wonderland of Americana. It features incredible songwriting with tasty guest appearances from Norton Buffalo, Willie P. Bennett, Ray Bonneville and old FAT favorites Joe Weed and Larry Hosford. It’s a delightful Canadian take on the Americana experience. Enjoy!”
– Bluegrass Channel, XM Satellite Radio (Global)
“Here’s another reason why some of us will remember April 2003 as one of the sweetest months ever in Texas music: ‘Just A Songwriter‘ is oh so easy on the ears and has multiple pleasant associations for me. Overall sweet, straight, …. a bunch of catchy tunes that keep me reaching for the ‘replay’ button.”
– Marquetta Herring, LoneStarWebStation.com, Dallas, TX
“Butterill crafts interesting songs with lyrics that keep you interested and melodies that stay with you. There is nothing complex going on here, just solid songwriting and a well organized production, there is enough diversity of styles and musicians and wit to keep things fun throughout. Kenny Butterill has put together a good sophomore album that shows what he learned from his debut. It deserves a good rating of an “8.” Most listeners will find something here that they like. I suspect that this guy has a “10” in him somewhere and I plan to keep watching for it.” Click here for the full review Folkwax 10 03 PDF.
– Jason Wesley, a founding editor of FolkWax
“This is Kenny’s follow-up to his knockout debut “JUST A SONGWRITER” He’s got a way with words and his easy going style practically puts him on your living room sofa. Nothing intricate or flashy, he doesn’t have to be, just no nonsense great songs. He’s from Canada, but his songs are universal. Love, loss, more love, a small victory, more loss and redemption out of the ashes. A great way for your CD player to spend an evening.”
– Village Records, Shawnee, KS
“Kenny is back! His talent as a songwriter is well known in the industry and his ability to deliver a strong musical performance has been clearly established with his past CD, “No One You Know“. His new CD entitled “Just A Songwriter” is a further progression and highly enjoyable! Kenny has the charming ability to create songs that are first pure fun – very easy to listen to – yet some how quite compelling – and then perform them masterfully. His songs are learning experiences not dissimilar to enjoying fine wine. Like developing an admiration of fine wine, as you listen more and more – your appreciation for Kenny’s work will grow and grow. So pop the cork by spinning up his new CD and start enjoying fine listening today. You will not be disappointed.” Click here for the full review.
– Steve Ekblad, Audiogrid.com, Chicago, IL
“..tasty put-the-headphones-on-inside-your-motorcycle-helmet-and-hit-the-sunny-highway music and good sittin’ on the sundeck watchin the sun go down music. I think anyone who still likes real music without unnecessary bells and whistles will dig it!”
– Scott James, The Mighty Q, Victoria, BC
“Even with musicians like Norton Buffalo and Willie P Bennett behind his relaxed vocals, this has to have come out better than he dared hope. Though he takes his craft seriously, Butterill, as the album titled suggests, doesn’t take himself too seriously and his songs, including tributes to Townes Van Zandt and Felton Pruitt, are finely balanced, substantial but easy to listen to, in styles ranging from folk to folk-rock via alt country and acoustic blues … he blends his laid back delivery in with the musicians and his only real problem is that the album sounds so good that his words almost have to sneak across subliminally.”
– John Conquest, Editor, 3rd Coast Music, San Antonio, TX
“his best songs are works of conversational poetry, looking back into the past with inevitable regret. But also, charmingly, a certain defensive love. Butterill has a young heart, at least lyrically. He lives in the mellow world of John Prine, Mark Knopfler and the gang of Dead Reckoners, a party of folks whose job it is to live slightly more interesting lives in hopes it’ll make a good song someday. His songs are wise, but he’s obviously not immune to the character flaws that pull us all down from single-handedly running the world. Butterill also uses the mundane details of life without being hokey … while Butterill strays into the blues and even the cotton fields a bit this time, his greatest success still lies in the fact he writes close to his heart”
– Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“I think the title sums up this album, not a showbiz person, just a songwriter wanting to be heard. Well, I’ve heard him, and I like what I hear. This is music on the borderlines of country, with story songs, very well performed by Kenny Butterill, who has a very nice voice, which is restful to listen to, and the most beautiful intertwingling of guitars as well as piano, bass and drums, with saxophone, not on every track, but drifting lazily through in ‘Making Love in LA’. My favourite track is ‘My Austin Angel’ with its lovely Tex Mex feel, and beautiful guitar work. The sleeve contains information and the song words, all written by Kenny Butterill. I very much enjoyed this album.”
– Sue McCarthy, Southern Country Magazine
“The follow-up to his European hit country record “No One You Know“, “Just A Songwriter” seems to be on the same path. His blend of alt.-country, Americana/folk and blues exposes this songwriter’s feeling through strong imagery. Soothing and melodic, his music wears well like a familiar coat.”
– Miles of Music.com, Los Angeles, CA
“Another great album from one of today’s most gifted songwriters. Americana will go from strength to strength with the likes of Kenny Butterill.”
– Lee Williams, Music Choice, CMR/Pulse 202 (throughout Europe)
“Kenny Butterill makes you feel like he sat down in your living room to perform just for you. The same ‘living room concert’ he began with ‘No One You Know‘ continues here but without repetition. New songs with a familiar feel in his own bluesy style. Great stuff!”
– Ken Raisanen, WOAS-FM 88.5, Ontonagon, MI
“… bluesy feel is ideal for his intelligent story songs and sublime melodies that are presented with a ‘lived-in’ integrity that states ‘I have been there on the inside now I am looking to tell the clear story my way’. Kenny is one of those all too rare breeds of believable storytellers who makes you think, rather than pushing it in your face. I am a fan! (Included is) “The Townes You Left Behind”, a splendid tribute to Townes Van Zandt. One of my songwriting heroes. Tell you what! Kenny Butterill is on my list especially after this.”
– Brian Ahern, Country Music & More, United Kingdom
“… well crafted songs, all written by Kenny are one of the main features of the new CD. The other most distinctive feature is undoubtedly his voice, quality with a softness and sureness at times it’s almost a loud whisper and with the subtle backing of acoustic instruments his voice is never overshadowed. Norton Buffalo on harmonica is outstanding on his tracks, a perfect foil to Kenny’s voice. The acoustic guitars, harmonica, bass, occasional piano, mandolin, and electric guitars all have a laid back feel giving the overall album a late night, candlelight martini-time feel, and bound to be another winner for Kenny. The bluesy, folksy, rootsy sound gives this fine collection of Americana music the right to stand alongside the Guy Clarks/JJ Cales and Tony Joe Whites and others.”
– Gerry Ford, CMD Magazine, Scotland
“… a great CD by Kenny Butterill, he is really something special. His relaxed way of singing puts the listener in the right mood and the recording quality is just top notch. I like Kenny’s “close up” vocals, he is never strangled by the music or drowned out by the equipment. I can only say this rhythmical music, whatever style it’s in, is just superb. Such a CD makes it worthwhile to be a DJ, and know each track is perfect. Now I don’t say all the tracks are in a style as I like, but it’s not for me to judge the tracks, but my listeners. My hat is off for a perfect recording that all can be proud of.”
– Dann Hansen, Roskilde Dampradio, Denmark
“… and I consider it to be a masterpiece. The variety of music is great and there is something for each and all on this album. Lots of improvements over the first album, but the same red “Kenny string” floats all through the CD. I recon there will be many European DJs who will give this new CD 5 stars – I sure do.”
– Lars G Lindberg, MCWC Radio, Sweden
“… must be on to a winner here. If not, there is no justice. From start to finish this is an outstanding album, just sit down and listen to the superb backing, this alone makes the CD worth having … that haunting sound of the harmonica played by Norton Buffalo is something to behold, helped along with some superb guitar picking. Then listen to the smooth rich vocals from Kenny laying down the lyrics to the music, you can hear and understand every word, no muffled words here, pure clear lyrics. This album would have no trouble living on any of the country, blues or folk scenes, and relished by the fans of any of them, that’s for sure. A must for any fan of good music, and may it not be too long before we get more of the same”.
– John Brookfield, PathFinder Magazine, United Kingdom
“Simply put, this album is a tempered and insightful delight. This is pure Americana with splashes of blues, jazzy riffs, and alt-country fusions for equal measure. There is no Nashville bravado here. No big hats and oversized belt buckles, no glamour shots holding the promise of a CMT special from a cowboy clothes horse. No. What is on offer is a tuneful palette of blended artistry.”
– George Peden, Country Review, Australia
“Kenny Butterill has certainly kicked down a few doors for the Americana acts. His # 1 hit (in 2002) ensured that acts like Chip Taylor and Billy Don Burns get exposure at Country Radio. While his new “Just A Songwriter” CD is not a full-blown country album, the quality is outstanding – I really loved the whole thing from start to finish.”
– Stuart Cameron, Radio Caroline (throughout Europe)
” … the new “Just A Songwriter” album from Kenny Butterill is a passionate listening album, not heavy or pushy but one that tells it’s own story. I said about his debut CD, No One You Know, that it was folky blues music. With his new album I want to add: Americana! It all just fits on “Just A Songwriter“. Butterill is a master in making laidback music …”
– Jan Janssen, Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands
“60 minutes of Country Music from Kenny Butterill is like attending a concert by Bach for classical music lovers. You just have to love his music. The 2003 album is both timeless and incomparable. One can say this: The CD Offers a Great Bunch of Bluesy, Country Roots Music.”
– Christian Lamistchka, CountryHome.de, Germany
“Just A Songwriter, one whose songs touch your heart. This CD is difficult to catagorize precisely – it could be defined as folk music with influences blues and country, but that would be too restrictive since the music of Kenny Butterill touches all fields of what is known as Americana. Kenny Butterill is a poet, who like Guy Clark or Chuck Pyle, is able to effectively communicate true emotions across the musical spectrum with songs about the small delights and the large pains of real life that we can all relate to. Just a songwriter, but with a capital ‘S’.”
– Gianluca Sitta, Lone Star Time, Italy
“… Kenny Butterill is the guy with a low profile, and a warm and relaxed voice whose music makes the cold winter easier. His “Just A Songwriter” title track is about how he believes he doesn’t belong in showbiz … but artists like Butterill are exactly what Nashville needs as a counterbalance against all the mediocre pop country …”
– Kenneth Lundstrom, Sodra Dalarnes Tidning Hedemora, Sweden
“Kenny Butterill is a key part of the new talents of what is called Americana Music and Alternative Country Music. The world of Kenny, this Canadian born songwriter now living to the USA, is a quiet, calm world. A world that blends the blues, deep themes, folk, rock, and also the Jazz Country. To listen, try flying along in a beautiful car, on a long straight highway … “
– Alain Mangenot, Country-France.com
“… Contrary to all the rules of the music business, a business that does not consider those nearing the middle years, but well grounded with common sense, Butterill is not an inexperienced novice. A songwriter/composer molded in the groove of the country/blues genre, with guitar production and soft, soulful singing like his eminent predecessors J.J. Cale and Mark Knopfler (whose influences affect the mood of the album with pleasant persistence), Butterill is a capable craftsman of songs that succeed by combining alternative and contemporary country at the same time. Comprehensive, solid and balanced, “Just A Songwriter” hides inside no small quality that will please a large cross section of country fans.”
– Mauro Eufrosini, JAM Magazine, Italy
Reviews from Kenny’s first CD “No One You Know”
“This is authentic Alt-country Americana Folk music that grows on you – and keeps getting better the more one listens. Don’t be surprised when you hear Butterill’s tunes covered by other artists.”
– XM Satellite Radio
“A roots grounded, blues shaded, country flavored songwriter with emphasis on solid rhythmic grooves. Kenny’s keenly observing words paint gritty portraits of the dusty side of life. His stories deftly capture the essence of their subject matter.”
– Songwriter’s Monthly
From Roots Music Article: “… Kenny Butterill insists on carving out a niche in country music on his own terms. His first recording, No One You Know, offers up a dozen songs that meet at the crossroads of alt country, acoustic blues and folk. The material ranges from no-nonsense love ballads to topical songs that tackle political issues from an individual perspective. Enough to say that his laid-back, no-frills approach speaks of an artist of few words who, as a result, compels us to listen all the more closely.”
– Robert Reid Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Canada has always been a very generous state in giving us important talent that, in some cases (such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, etc.) are at the head of the class that determines trends for songwriters. Now comes Canadian Kenny Butterill with his debut No One You Know CD, a recording of fresh surprising character, no doubt the best of the products that have been represented by so much MOORE media (the organization of Martha Moore, former representative of the Amazing Rhythm Aces).
– Dino Della Casas, Country Store Magazine, Italy Click Here for the full review.
“How Far Can We Go? (track 1) reminds me of cruising down a tree-lined prairie road with my helmet visor open, the sun in my face, the bills paid and a burger & beer waiting around the next corner. The whole CD just makes me want to hang loose, and these days, we can all use a little of that.”
– Scott James, Former Programme Director X91.3 Radio, Victoria, BC, Canada
“…. is totally mellow makeout music, man …. this man is all about love; it’s his addiction. But rather than be a big dork about it like most hot country singers, or all bitter like a lot of folksingers, Butterill has enough maturity to be matter of fact about the good and the bad without making it seem like the ramblings of some spazzy drama queen. Who is Kenny Butterill? Someone in touch. Get mellow and check him out!”
– Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“Butterill is a stealth-mode, spotlight avoiding, hidden gem who knows how to write very cool, alt-country, easy chair music. I guess as long as he can deliver comfortable, feel good tunes like these, we can forgive his desire to avoid the trappings of showbiz …”
– Greg Simpson, MindBenders Music, London, Ontario Canada
“Canadian Kenny Butterill’s major influences include Gordon Lightfoot and John Prine and these influences have worked extremely well on “No One You Know“, his debut CD. Leaning toward acoustic folk/country, the twelve original songs are extremely well crafted with Butterill proving that there is no one better than the composer for extracting every ounce of emotion from each line.”
– Pete Smith, Country Music Round Up, UK
” … Butterill’s touch of blues and laid back vocal personality that’s so radio friendly impact immediately and his straight forward rootsy technique teases the ear. His homespun material gives the feeling of been there before, however, a second listen will stamp his own musical signature firmly with the listener …”
– Walt Grealis, Canadian Music Industry Icon, Former Editor, RPM Weekly, Canada
“Butterill’s insightful, sensitive songwriting speaks volumes with words used sparingly to good effect. His inviting, minimalist style puts you in a comfortable groove while his mellow, distinctive delivery is as smooth as fine Scotch. Butterill gives us the kind of Americana music that connects with listeners. You can’t go wrong with this one.”
– GAVIN Americana Snap Shot Review
“…we haven’t heard much from the brilliant and unique singer JJ Cale lately, (but) I’m here to tell you that we have the next best thing in Kenny Butterill. It’s impossible for me not to compare him to Cale, and that’s a good thing. You got same deep gruff voice and the much of the same rootsy, percolating, shuffling songs. Butterill’s debut is a refreshing reminder of Cale’s legacy and the probably the beginning of another’s.”
– Bill Frater, www.freighttrainboogie.com
“… Butterill’s music compares best to an acoustic version of Dire Straits, and his influences include John Prine, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. No One You Know is a passionate record with both personal and political themes, and Butterill’s songs flow effortlessly from one to the next regardless of style or influence.”
– David J. Klug, Blue Suede News
“…this steller collection warrants widespread attention for the honesty and integrity of his artistry, which is a magnet for anyone who enjoys country rock music that marries style and substance …. the album spotlights Butterill’s gift for insightful words, memorable melodies and ear-grabbing performances.”
– Alan Cackett, Country Music International, United Kingdom
“…a little more bluesey than most of the stuff I get, but a very enjoyable listen with a smooth voice.”
– David Goodman, Modern Twang
“…This CD gets better every time you play it. There is no particular song that jumps out, but in this case that’s a compliment, because all the songs are of outstanding quality. This is the ideal music you can enjoy while sitting relaxed in the garden on a summer evening. If there’s any honesty in the music business we’ll surely hear more from this man!”
– Marc Nolis, Editor, RootsTown Music, Deurne, Belgium
“succeeds as an honest package of easy-rolling tunes that soothe the soul … his simple tunes about his love for life have an undeniable warmth.”
– Ames Arnold, Style Weekly, Richmond Virginia, USA
“The title’s modest … but appropriate. I’d never heard of Kenny Butterill either, until I came on this album. Imagine Dire Straits going acoustic and teaming up with John Prine for an authentic touch of alt-country Americana, then rounding out the party with Gordon Lightfoot adding sensitive folkie lyrics. That’s just hinting at the sound of Butterill, a singer-songwriter who lives in Northern California. The misty mountains Butterill calls home offer both inspiration for his music and refuge for an outsider frustrated with years of hustling songs in Nashville and Los Angeles. Fortunately, those hubs of the music industry are no longer the sole key to finding an audience. Once Butterill put his music on the Web, his songs started moving up the college folk and country charts, eventually prompting him to record this CD. Listening to Butterill’s lyrics, it’s no surprise to discover he’s Canadian … even before you hit tracks like Back to Canada, a unity hymn, or Balsam Lake, a tribute to his Kawartha roots. Throughout, the lyrics are politically astute, honest and insightful, even when dabbling in familiar country themes of broken hearts and broken promises. Backed by Daoud Shaw (lightly on percussion) and Peter Morrison (mandolin and guitars), Butterill keeps the sound sparse. The result? An album that’s bluesy and rhythmic, rootsy and mellow. And that’s easy to take.”
– Philip Bast, The Record, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
“OK, Kenny Butterill’s first CD “No One You Know” has been out on the market for over a year, but for those who have been able to get a hold of it, they will surely enjoy it for several years to come. This is country music in its simplest and most beautiful art. No experiments with Techno or Pop, although if one really listens one can hear some rock and even some soft Spanish influences. Kenny Butterill is no longer an unknown quantity in Country Music and he shows us that great country artists come not only from the USA, but also from Canada. His songs are played from Alaska to Australia and praised in the highest tones. One cannot write much more about this CD. One must simply hear it.”
– Christian Lamitschka, Western Store, Germany
“Remember the thrill you got when you first listened to JJ Cale’s or Mark Knopfler’s music? You were taken by the songs and transported to a different place. Stories in their songs were emphasized by their voices as clear as someone speaking the story yet melodic. Combine the effortless but engaging instrumentation and you were hooked. Get ready — from Kenny Butterill’s first track to the last–that feeling is back!”
– Steve Ekblad, Music Reviewer, Chicago, Illinois, USA
“… the power of Waylon with the style of Neil Diamond”
– Rhett Ashley, ICMA Newsletter
“Kenny Butterill is so unassuming that he called his record No One You Know. But soon many will know who the (US based) Canadian songwriter is. From the first track (on) I think about Tony Joe White but it’s more like “Swamp Country” – so let Kenny be the one who created it. With a touch of folk and blues, a deep pleasant voice, good lyrics and melody, Butterill catches the listener.”
– Kenneth Lundstrom, Sodra Dalarnes Tidning, Hedemora, Sweden
“His Promo compares him to Don Williams. He reminds me more of Greg Brown in his phrasing. This is an electric album, but it is produced with the excellent lyrics way out front. Make him someone you know, this album deserves it.”
– David Pyles, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange CD Reviews Editor, acousticmusic.com
“Kenny Butterill eases into a shuffle like no one this side of a Southerner on a steamy night. His ‘No One You Know‘ CD is the album that Mark Knopfler might have recorded before Dire Straits’ late seventies debut. Understand, this is not a criticism. Butterill’s style borrows liberally yet effortlessly from country, folk and pop, touched off by his wistful, almost off-hand vocals. Full of gentle pleasures, this is a surprisingly assured debut.”
– Bob Klanac, The Scene, London, Ontario Canada
“Butterill is a Canadian who makes his home on a secluded California mountain top and writes a variety of songs that defy formatting. A quiet rebel of grace, Butterill is filling a void that has been taken over by vapid, soft rock mindless drivel. Butterill tells stories, borrows from his own experience and creates interesting songs that beg the listener to think for him or herself. Especially good here is “Balsam Lake“, “Breaking The Glass Ceiling“, written from the point of view of a woman, and Butterill’s tribute to the late “Princess Diana.” Heartfelt, honest and strong, Butterill is quietly making music in his own fashion.”
– Jana Pendragon, American Country Magazine
“With comparisons to John Prine and Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Butterill produces very relaxed folksy country bluesy roots music in the singer-songwriter mold, reminiscent at times of a very subdued Mark Knopfler. There is an understated purity to Butterill’s music, an eloquent simplicity to its performance”
– Riff Gibson, Editor, Raging Smolder Publications
“Tell the BBC!: The liner notes on Americana songwriter Kenny Butterill’s new CD, No One You Know, reveal that Kenny recorded the final track, a five minute-plus tribute titled “Princess Diana” in 1997, before Diana’s untimely death.”
– Stacy’s Music Row Report, Nashville, TN USA
“This man’s songwriting is absolutely amazing! No One You Know is a GREAT album!”
– Peter Holmstedt, Sony Music executive/Sweden
“…the sound of good folk music but also bluesy, with a subliminally driving rhythm and Butterill’s warm and smoky voice, this CD you must listen to.”
– Lutz Adam, Record News, Country Circle German Music Magazine
“Here’s a nice laid-back effort from an artist we didn’t even know about. Butterill has plied his trade for a while and has already made a name for himself in Europe. Now this disc is being released here. He reminds us of J.J. Cale, with leanings towards the Mavericks. He has some great tunes and voice that is warm and expressive. You’ll like his songs too.”
– Bill Lavery, Village Records
“With some brilliant songwriting and an earthy, inviting voice on his No One You Know CD, Kenny Butterill should be someone we all know alot better. This is the real deal.”
– David Neilsen, KPIG Watsonville, CA and KUSP Radio, Santa Cruz CA
“Recalling the Nashville-influenced material laid down by Mark Knopfler in the early ’90s, Kenny Butterill’s lazy songs are the ideal accompaniment to a Saturday afternoon spent in a hammock or driving through the rural countryside. Leaning slightly more toward Country-Folk than Bluegrass, Butterill’s material manages to toe the line of both genres without falling into either one’s fishing hole.”
– Charles Hodgkins, Assoc. Editor, Listen.com
“As Content Editor of one the internet’s most popular music destinations, I listen to 1000s of CDs and must say that No One You Know is a great recording that grabs you right away. Butterill deserves big time air play.”
– Bob Werne, Content Editor, Artist Direct/Ultimate Band List
“A terrific new Canadian born alt.country songwriter whose songs are simple, calming and melodic while conjuring up lots of easily identifiable imagery and feelings.”
– Arie van Staveren, Founder, Compact Disc Europe
“If you like music that has a great beat and earthy lyrics- this is a great CD. The first six songs are definitely driving music on par with Townes Van Zandt and J. J. Cale. Butterill has a rich, earthy voice and the guitar/mandolin playing is awesome.”
– Music Fan, Amazon.com USA
“The music of Kenny Butterill takes you to peaceful, easy places. Reminiscent of Don Williams and Tony Joe White, his voice is deep and honest, with an easy-going style that’s as mellow as a front porch swing.”
– KKUP Radio/Cupertino, California USA