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The Kat Kings "The Winning Hand"
A little bit of Rock, A little bit of Soul, A little bit of Blues, all mixed together to bring you a whole lot of great music, is what The Kat Kings debut album "The Winning Hand", is all about.
"The Winning Hand" consists of 13 Tracks, 12 of which are originals, which I always say is a bit of a gutsy move for a Debut Album, but if the talent is there, then there is certainly no harm in flaunting it a bit. Of the 12 originals, 11 are solely written by The Kat Kings Vocalist Kevin McQuade, and 1 is co-written by Kevin McQuade and Martin Alex Aucoin. Martin Alex Aucoin is of course no stranger to the Canadian Music Scene, whom steadily receives nominations from industry elites such as the Juno's, Maple Blues Awards, and the East Coast Music Awards and not just for one category, but for several over the years, such as, Producer, Songwriter, and Keyboardist. For the Cover on "The Winning Hand", The Kat Kings chose a Terry Adams song called "Don't you Know". It is a song that I felt was a great choice for this Album as it fit in perfectly to their style.
Besides Kevin McQuade (Vocalist/Electric, Acoustic, and Slide Guitars), and Martin Alex Aucoin (Piano/Organ/Wurlitzer/Percussion/Background Vocals), The Kat Kings also consists of Al Cross (Drums) and John Dymond (Electric/Upright Bass). Al Cross is of course a Drummer Extraordinaire whom has performed as a Session Drummer on hundreds of Albums, and records with Big Sugar, Great Big Sea, Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Ian Tyson, David Wilcox, and Lorenna McKennitt, just to name a very small few. Also, no stranger to the music biz is John Dymond, whom also has a very lengthy resume such as a Member of Blackie And The Rodeo Kings, Colin Linden, Amanda Wilkinson, The Wilkinsons as well as recording and touring with our "Lengendary K.D. Lang and the Reclines, Bruce Cockburn, Natalie MacMaster, Lisa Brokop, Jason McCoy, Aaron Pritchett, Patricia Conroy, John Bottomley and many other Canadian acts." One should, by now, have a pretty good idea of just how much talent The Kat Kings have. Combine that all with Vocals and Guitar work of Kevin McQuade and there is no wonder they named the Album what they did.
For a Debut Album, I found "The Winning Hand" to be consistently good, with songs and performances that seemed to meld together as one, instead of like some Albums where you get a couple of big hits and the rest of it is so-so. Rock is probably one of the more dominating genres on this Album, but in a way that is not overpowering and one in which you can still pick up some Blues, and certainly some Soul, kind of like the bluesy rock you would expect from George Thorogood.
As mentioned earlier, their is a huge amount of talent on "The Winning Hand", and none of it is wasted on this Album with all the performers shining brightly via their individual expertise, especially the work of McQuade' on Vocals and Aucoin' on
Piano, Organ, Wurlitzer, and Percussion.
All in all, "The Winning Hand" is pretty well like the name implies. It is certainly rock solid in all the areas that count, with 12 great songs written and performed in a way that truly catch our attention.
The Kat Kings as a group, are yet another excellent addition to the multitude of talent that Canada consistently is able to produce and offer.
For a Debut Album, "The Winning Hand" is about as good of a start as any band could hope for, and it is certainly one that leaves you with a sense of more great things to come.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)

Additional Info
1. Tuffer than Me 4:28
2. Let's Get Greasy 3:33
3. Born in the Back of a Cadillac 4:28
4. I Don't Understand 3:20
5. Lucky $treak 3:15
6. Ridin' on the Road 4:13
7. Queen of the Mardi Gras 3:04
8. Don't you Know 2:49
9. That Train 4:31
10. Fatback Ribs 2:04
11. Whatcha Gonna Do 3:16
12. She's No Good 3:37
13. Got $ome Dough 2:27
Listen To Samples Here...