Kitchen on Fire: Here We Are (Self-Released)

The debut album by this local quartet features gently boisterous folk-rock tunes touched with elements of country and jazz. Guitarist Tim Daldrup and bassist Dave Knipe wrote the 12 tunes together, and both sing, as does keyboards player Susan Artemis. Drummer George Liggins completes the group, and their combined sound balances energy and a laid-back 'tude.

The opening track, "Here We Are," uses upfront strumming and Artemis' delicate piano fills to create a mood that is classy but refreshingly homegrown, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. These players have been seen and heard around Tucson in other combinations and contexts, and this new recording has a concise focus that will appeal to fans of classic rock, thanks to some subtle musical references.

The loping, country-road rockers "St. George's Wood" and "Oh Sweet Mama" recall the Grateful Dead, while "Might as Well" choogles with a bit of the Creedence stamp on country and R&B. Then there's the eco-friendly "Greenhouse Blues," which credibly kicks up some dust, sounding like an outtake from the Rolling Stones' Tattoo You period.

Artemis is perhaps the band's secret weapon. She contributes excellent harmonies throughout and takes the lead on "Mustang Corners," which sounds a little like Joni Mitchell with Crosby, Stills and Nash adding lush harmonies. Her understated barrelhouse piano parts also are essential to such bluesy honky-tonk numbers as "Stop Stop" and "It's You."

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