Kyle Hollingsworth’s latest solo effort, 50, comes out of the gates swinging with two, funky-ass, back-to-back tracks that sound like something he and his String Cheese bandmates would crush during a second-set jam. It’s spry and nimble musicianship that is absolutely overflowing with energy.
Not bad at all for Hollingsworth, who turns 50 on March 2 — the album’s release date. In an accompanying press release, Hollingsworth said that the record, written over a year and half period, is a reflection on various aspects and milestones of his life, as well as a testament to his continual evolution as an artist and the collaborative approach he took on this recording.
“We were able to explore and work together as a unit versus the other albums, where I would just bring them the songs and they would perform them as I told them to,” he said in the press release. “I was able to be a lot more creative in the studio with my current lineup of musicians. I would show up with a smattering of ideas and say, ‘I think this is what’s gonna happen,’ and we’d sit down and knock out three or four songs together.”
In addition to his collaborative approach with his band, Hollingsworth is joined by a slew of heavy-hitting special guests. On “Finding Our Way,” Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters plays Dobro, while on the Motown-inspired, horn-heavy “All Falls Apart” Hollingsworth called on The Motet Horns. Jen Hartswick leant vocals to “Come On.” Other special guests on the album include DJ Logic, Jason Hann, Kim Dawson, Darren Kramer, Paige Sandusky and Tanya Shylock.
Despite the funky, bring-the-party attitude, Hollingsworth is also able to offer some depth and storytelling that he’s only hinted at on previous solo outings. “Finding Our Way,” in fact, is his most autobiographical song to date, which tells the tale of the keyboardist’s arrival in Colorado, the rise of his career, finding love and becoming a father.