Anyone who has caught a Silks set, either with the full band or just main Silk Tyler James Kelly on his own, has had to think, Damn, this guy knows a lot of songs. As a solo act, Kelly displays a remarkable depth of knowledge when it comes to old and arcane forms of bluegrass, folk and country blues, and his deft and seemingly effortless finger picking style should be the envy of blues players of any age.
Indeed, there’s something anachronistic about him; one gets the definite sense that TJ maybe got lost in a corn maze in 1972 and only recently meandered out. His single-minded resistance to the temptation to blend his classic guitar style with more modern and popular forms shows his true strength as an artist, as well as his tireless commitment to his craft, and to see him sweetly render old timey music with such love and reverence is a very nice and rare thing to see from any musician these days.
The full Silks are an entirely different monster altogether: dirty barroom blues delivered with full throated abandon, whip smart cracks of guitar leads reminiscent of a young and relevant Clapton, and a slew of guest musicians and vocalists each impeccably talented in their own right. Their New Year’s Eve gig following Boo City had the Silks delivering an epic late night party set, sculpting the band’s own originals into what could have been outtakes from Exile on Main Street and getting people to dance to something other than a disco beat.
Rich Lupo, owner of Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel and co-owner of The Met: “I enjoy the Silks so much. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this translates at all to their chances of breaking out as a band. They’re the real McCoy; I love the authenticity. It isn’t that they offer some new sound to Providence, it’s that they remind me of some of the great music that played here in the ‘70s. And much of that is born of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. There is a lot of nostalgia in it for me. I am thrilled by the sense of history in so many of the local bands – I think Providence bands are off the charts in this regard.”