Yates McKendree – Buchanan Lane (2022)

Yates McKendree - Buchanan Lane (2022)
Artist: Yates McKendree
Album: Buchanan Lane
Label: Qualified Records
Year Of Release: 2022
Format: FLAC (tracks)
1. Out Crowd (2:45)
2. Ruby Lee (3:45)
3. Wise (3:29)
4. No Justice (4:27)
5. Brand New Neighborhood (2:28)
6. Always A First Time (3:58)
7. Papa Ain’t Salty (2:52)
8. No Reason (2:46)
9. Qualified (4:46)
10. It Hurts To Love Someone Else (3:18)
11. Wine, Wine, Wine (2:49)
12. Please Mr. Doctor (3:56)
13. Voodoo (3:11)


When the legendary John Hiatt tells Rolling Stone magazine “Yates was our secret ingredient,” you know that Yates McKendree’s debut record will be something special. Multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter and Grammy winner Yates McKendree is a Nashville scion, who grew up in the Rock House studio run by his father, multi award winning producer, engineer, and piano man, Kevin McKendree.

The 13-song collection, Buchanan Lane, named where father and son reside, features original compositions Yates co-wrote with Gary Nicholson, two of his new instrumentals, and a selection of deep cuts from the heroes of blues and soul he has followed since the age of three, self-taught on guitar, bass, drums, and piano. While the focus is on Yates’ stellar vocals and inspiring playing, the assembled all-star group of music city session musicians leaves nothing to chance. The crew included Steve Mackey on upright bass, Big Joe Maher on drums, the horn section of Jim Hoke: saxophones, Andrew Carney: trumpets, and Roland Barber: trombones, with the renowned McCrary Sisters supplying background vocals while McKendree Sr. manned the recording console and multiple keyboards.

Swinging rhumba “Out Crowd” opens the set as a father and son homage to the 1965 Ramsey Lewis trio hit “The In Crowd.” McKendree then proclaims his dedication to traditional blues with a spot-on reading of B.B. King’s 1956 RPM Records B-Side “Ruby Lee,” followed by his own minor key soul blues “Wise,” crafted in a “Thrill Is Gone” style emulating the master. McKendree flexes his muscles on the evocative 12-bar blues “No Justice,” delivering solid vocals and playing guitar, Hammond organ, bass, and drums on the track. He rounds up the Little Big Band for another gem from a lost R&B shouter on Fletcher Smith’s west coast jump blues “Brand New Neighborhood,” trading hot solos with Hoke and his dad. Wisely, he chose to emulate the 1977 recording of Earl King’s “Always A First Time,” going with the more modern soul version v. the 1961 original. McKendree demonstrates more devotion to blues guitar covering two T Bone Walker gems, “Papa Ain’t Salty” and the crooning ballad “No Reason,” and has fun recreating that classic T-Bone sound along the way.

The Rock House All Stars are in full force for “Qualified,” a joyous take on the deep cut from the iconic 1973 Dr. John album and Fat Tuesday soundtrack “In The Right Place.” The horn driven ballad “It Hurts To Love Someone,” first recorded for Atlantic by Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones in the late fifties, is lovingly recreated to display McKendree’s vocal and lead guitar prowess. Yates returns to the piano for the cocktail party number, “Wine, Wine, Wine,” and digs deep into Chicago Blues on a gritty reading of Tampa Red’s “Please Mr. Doctor.” Drummer Kenneth Blevins from the John Hiatt combo sits in for the final track “Voodoo,” a funky Meters styled instrumental with the McKendree’s trading hot licks on guitar and organ.

This impeccable album should launch Yates McKendree further into the spotlight his young talent deserves.
by Rick J Bowen

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