Friday, July 9, 2010

Kevin Salem

The last few years I've found myself enjoying bootlegs, rarities, show rehearsals, etc. about as much as officially released material. One, its cheaper because most fans/tapers share their recordings freely. Two, I like the roughness of a lot of the material - the lack of recording perfection demanded by studio production crews is a nice change of pace. Three, I've been able to experiment with artists with whom I'm not as familiar - far easier to listen to a downloaded boot vs. forking over $15 for an unknown official release.

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a CD of some demo tracks recorded by Kevin Salem thinking I'd enjoy it. I'll admit I didn't know anything about him and really still don't much. But as I say, I enjoy the roughness of these kinds of recordings - not to mention the element of surprise. It was a bit like opening a Christmas present in the middle of summer.

Once I listened to a few of the tracks, I started enjoying it. Hey Mikey! He likes it! Now that I've played it a few times, I figured others might enjoy it as well. So its offered here to you for the low, low price of free.

From what I can gather (i.e. Google this, Wikipedia that, e-mail this and that 'un), this record was made, mixed and mastered in the early 1990s. But Salem then apparently shelved it thinking he might get greater exposure if he worked with a "name" producer. His first official record, Soma City, was released in 1994. Some of the songs featured Syd Straw on background vocals, and I have heard of her. These demo tracks, however, never were included on his three solo releases.

Kevin has a website, and I've now learned he was quite the hired gun for some artists/bands with whom I am familiar. Some of his recording cred includes:
  • Mary Lee's Corvette - From New York City. One degree of separation here: Konrad Meissner, the drummer for a fave band of mine, The Silos, also plays drums for MLC.
  • Walter Salas-Humara's Radar - WSH is the frontman for The Silos. And hey, I've had this solo CD from him in my collection for years.
  • Todd Thibaud- From Boston, MA. Another find for me over the last couple of years thanks to some suggested tracks by I bought Todd's Favorite Waste of Time because of the tracks I streamed on Pandora. So with Walter's solo CD and Todd's FWOT CD, I had some Kevin Salem material in my possession and never realized it!
  • Emmylou Harris - I think she may be one of those promising, up-and-comer, country artists. I wish her well and hope she has a prosperous career. [/tongueincheek]. Are you kidding me? Emmylou?! Nice.
  • Dumptruck
  • Freedy Johnston
  • Yo La Tengo
The CD of demos also included one track by another artist - Mary Lorson. Again, she was a songwriter not familiar to me. In the early 90s, she fronted a band called Madder Rose. Does that help? No? Well don't feel bad because I hadn't heard of them either. But a web search for her landed me on Trouser Press. There I learned Madder Rose's debut was produced by...Kevin Salem. So now I think I know why this demo was included with the Salem cuts. The final two tracks of this set were Lorson's first attempts at songwriting and from her first recording session.

Track list:
  • Drag The River
  • Unfaithful
  • Shot Down
  • Remain
  • Privileges
  • Blue Candles
  • Tears To Ice Water
  • Late Night Prayers
  • Borderline
  • Mary Lorson's 1st two demos
Download here from

Edited August 13, 2014


  1. Would it be possible please for you to re-up this collection? Many thanks...

    1. Glad you found the post. Wow, this one was a while ago wasn't it? Ha. I still have recording - let me find new home for it & edit post. Give me a couple of days to locate and re-up. Thx again.

    2. Thanks...that's very kind of you, and appreciated

    3. Re-up'd tracks to and edited blog link. Enjoy the listen!

    4. Excellent...many thanks indeed.

    5. these recordings pre-date any of Kevin Salem's solo records. He was probably only a couple years out of Dumptruck. These songs were recorded in 1990/91 in Hoboken NJ at the old water music. A couple of the guys on these tracks were in the Silos during this time period.

  2. great early version of shotdown.

    note, new Salam solo CD coming in 2015. Must finally follow up masterpiece Ecstatic