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Blues Brothers

The Kinsey Report and its familial blues-funk

But despite the brothers' musical past and chops honed on hundreds of tour dates throughout the world over the years, they still travel by bus, driving all night to most gigs. And like other bands' members half their age, they hope for radio play. Unfortunately, The Kinsey Report's combination of rock/blues/funk doesn't usually fit nicely into current radio formats.

"It's something that's bad not only for us, but other 'blues' artists," says Ralph. "And this is supposed to be America's treasured music. My grandmother used to tell my dad that blues was 'reals,' and that's a country way of saying 'reality.' It's the ups and the downs ... but the fact is, we have to tour constantly because the records don't get commercial airplay. Except on some public radio stations."

Still, when the Kinseys' sound strayed more toward rock, they got backfire from blues purists, though Donald understands the label in a different manner. "I have always had a problem with the term 'rock.' Because, to me, it means a type of energy you bring to a music, rather than [a specific playing style]. But rock music does have that drive. Dad used to always tell us, 'You have to drive the music.' Even if it was slow blues."

But regardless of record sales and radio play, The Kinsey Report has always made its best grades on the live stage. That's where the three brothers lock together musically, spiritually and fraternally. "Once I get on the stage," Donald says, "that's my release. That's the moment I feel free."

Ralph follows up: "Once you hit that stage, everything else kind of just falls away." He also says the band just completed its first shows in Greece, where national and language barriers seemed to simply dissipate. "They knew us, and they had the records, and they really greeted us, and that's what it's all about: connecting and communicating. It's a gratifying feeling that we're doing something that means something to people."

The Kinsey Report plays Friday, April 9, at Billy Blues, 6025 Richmond. Call (713)266-9294 for more information.

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