His career is young. His past is impressive. His future seemingly has plenty more in store. That’s why Texas singer/songwriter Kyle Park, one of the spark plugs on the Southwestern tour circuit, has titled his new album Beggin’ For More.
It’s the fourth album in a self-made career in which Park served as both the artist and the record label. More is the key word in the title. He earned his first No. 1 single in the middle of recording the album, when “The Night Is Young” topped the Texas radio charts, and he naturally heard fans begging for more music.
But it also finds him covering more creative turf. Beggin’ displays an expansive lyrical bent, ranging from the playful Internet-age commentary of “Tagged” to the introspective spirituality of “You Make Me Believe.” Stylistically, Beggin’ contains more traditional country than he’s inserted on an album before, but it also shows him pushing the envelope on several tracks. U2-style guitar sounds and unexpected chord changes populate “The Night Is Young,” and a muscular foundation on “True Love” is part danceable soul music, part Wallflowers’ “One Headlight.”
“I hate to go to a show and the first song sounds like the other songs, and the show just keeps going and seems to flatline,” Park explains. “It’s cool to have different styles of songs. Going back to my first record, I’ve got a Cajun song and a ‘60s song, and all kinds of different grooves. I think that’s key.”
It’s one of many reasons that Park is an artist on the upswing. Through word of mouth built on solid touring, Park has expanded his audience from Texas into the surrounding states and the Midwest. He’s frequently shared stages with the likes of Gary Allan, Jack Ingram and the Eli Young Band. And Park has used every one of those dates to gain more knowledge about his business: what the audience responds to, how to build a compatible tour crew and how to make the economics of the road work.
His seven-year journey has been a slow process by some standards but an appropriate one from Park’s perspective.
“Nothing comes easy,” he asserts. “If it did, I’d be scared of it. There’s something to be said for experience. I know that music isn’t quite like an industrial business, but there’s one way they’re similar. A lot of times the person with the most experience comes out ahead and does a better job.”
With the experience of three previous albums under his belt, Park’s Beggin’ For More demonstrates clear progress in the recording studio. “Bad Timing” and “Like Nobody Will” evince a reedy vulnerability. The title track employs a dogged playfulness. His remake of Ronnie Milsap’s 1982
hit “He’s Got You” shows a reverence for his predecessors. And “The Night Is Young” and “True Love” effectively announced that Park is a commercial force to be reckoned with.
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