Questions and ‘Maybe’ Album Review by Tristan Olav Torgersen
April 20, 2018
Love. Hope. Happiness. Missing out. Connection. Life.
These emotions and ideas are universal. They connect us, they bind us, they make up our story and life. It is no wonder that our art, our writing, our movies, and our music so often focus on such topics. Yet, it seems to me that the ballads of broken hearts and unrequited love songs seem to drown out those songs of success and hope.
Then along comes Kevin. I know Kevin through multiple mutual friends. I guess the degrees of separation in college life are slimmer than life after school. I attended our university’s Songwriter’s Showcase in the spring of 2016, and heard Kevin perform “Maybe It’ll Work This Time,” which appears on this album. I was in the middle of trying to balance school, work, and a dating life, and the song spoke to me.
“Maybe it’ll work this time, maybe right now I’m on her mind.”
I mean…we have all been there, haven’t we? Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I would rather it be called hope. And that is something that Kevin Bessey has no shortage of. Hope. From the moment you meet him, you realize that he truly finds joy in life. He is a conversationalist, he is always sportin’ a smile, and he is as natural and warm on stage as he is talking with someone one on one. That genuine sense of self, when paired with his musical talents, has created an album that deserves a good listen.
The novelist Joseph Conrad once remarked, “Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love, to put its trust in life.” Well Mr. Conrad, there is one less woe in the world today. Kevin Bessey gets it.
Released on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2018, Maybe is an album that tells a story. Each song reminds you that it is part of a bigger picture, but also sets itself apart in its tones and lyrics. Kevin masterfully weaves a few chord progressions throughout the album to build auditory familiarity. He is joined by the melodic pipes of Megan Bessey, his brother’s wife, whose voice adds depth to the album. Not to mention, their harmonies are fantastic as well, as showcased on the track “Just Talkin.”
You begin the album with “We’ve Got Time,” to set the stage for this story. Moving on to “Someday You’ll Find Love,” the keyboard intro is almost reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie. The song is a great display of Kevin’s vocal range, while it inspires the brokenhearted and loveless to keep their chins up. “Girl From Tennessee” blends a fun melody and catchy chorus together into a song that’ll be stuck in your head for days.
I hope you can connect with “Maybe It’ll Work This Time” like I have by the midpoint of the album. When we get to “She Said She Loves Me,” you’ve felt the emotions. You’ve painted a picture in your mind. Your imagination has filled in the gaps, and the story of the album has become your story. That is a the magic of Maybe. It may play from the speakers, but it resonates in your heart.
Have I said too much? Did I say enough? Either way, enough of my take on the album, let’s sit down with Kevin and get to know him better and find out more about Maybe, his desire to make music, and what he likes to listen to as well.
But now, here’s our Q&A with Kevin Bessey:
Q: Where did your love of music and desire to write/play come from?
A: Great Question, it’s hard to say really. I’ve been playing and performing since I was three years old. I love music and the opportunity that music gives to create and tell stories. I feel like I just have this inner desire to constantly entertain. It’s almost an obsession to the point where I crave and accept any opportunity to speak or perform in front of any large group.
Q: So, it’s like you have the opposite of stage fright?
Q: Growing up, what albums impacted your music style?
A: Growing up, I loved Black and Blue and Millennium by the Backstreet Boys. My mom would also play a lot of Beatles for us, I was especially mesmerized by Abbey RoadSo Impossible by Dashboard Confessional, Santi by The Academy Is. . ., Foiled by Blue October, and Me and My Uke by Never Shout Never. There are a lot of other albums that impacted my style. I think that could be a whole article in and of itself
Q: Let’s talk about your album, Maybe. I know you wrote, recorded, produced, and released the album independently. Talk to me a little about the process, what you learned, and what you would share with other independent artists looking to release their first album.
A: I think the number one lesson I learned is to find partners who understand your vision and trust those partners to help carry it out. Every mistake I made on this album came from me working with those who didn’t understand my vision or from ignoring those who did.
My co-producer Cody McCracken had some genius ideas that really helped. I think that’s a key to recording a good album, find a great producer. Also, make sure that you’ve looked for the most cost effective methods. An album recording doesn’t need to be a $10,000 project. I was prepared and I did my research. That saved me a lot of money.
Q: What was the genesis for Maybe? How did the songs start coming together?
A: I wanted to write a song that could be in a musical. That song was “Maybe It’ll Work This Time”. I slowly expanded the story with songs like “That Girl From Tennessee” and “Just Talking.” Then, I started incorporating some songs that I’d written before, I wrote a few more songs, and eventually I developed them into a fluid narrative. I tried to put songs together that were sonically cohesive. I saved my songs with a darker tone for the next album.
Q: With any album, everyone can glean some different things from it. What is the overarching message you want to convey though?
A: I think the overall message is that there is hope. The main characters in Maybe are extremely down on life at the beginning of the album. They don’t see how the dots are going to connect. But, by the end of the album they’re so happy to be with each other. We don’t know all of the good things are going to happen in our life.
Q: I know you’ve recently played a few album release parties, what’s on the horizon? Any shows on the calendar?
A: I’ve got a few shows lined up. I have one in St George on April 28th. And, I have one on May 11th here in Las Vegas. I’m trying to line up some shows at some larger venues in Salt Lake City and if you get some connections in LA, I’ll make it out there. I’ve got other projects and partnerships in the works. But, I’m still fleshing them out.
Q: To close it off, our favorite question. You’re trapped on a deserted island, you get 3 albums. What do you choose?
A: So, these aren’t necessarily the most catchy albums or my favorite albums. These are the albums I never get tired of. They are The Glass Passenger by Jack’s Mannequin, Continuum by John Mayer, and probably Give Up by The Postal Service. I think those three albums also have a lot to do with surviving the suffering that we’re going through. I think that would be a particular need on a desert island.
Well folks, there you have it. The man, the writer, the musician. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know more through the Q&A and the album review, but in the words of LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, “you don’t have to take my word for it.” Click play below and listen for yourself!