Describing Kim Lenz as a “female Elvis” is narrow-sighted, as there are few musical similarities between the two, particularly in the fact Lenz writes a good chunk of her own material and, more significantly, she’s a much better guitar player.
Like Elvis, she is a dynamic live performer, with stylistic similarities to Chris Issak and the great Wanda Jackson. And if Lenz is anything, she’s a true-gone rocker – a fact made clear in (among other places) “He’s All Mine,” her duet with fellow rockabilly singer Big Sandy.
“I Break A Heart Every Night” is a rockabilly waltz that’s part swagger, part lament, while in “Zombie For Your Love” and “That’s The Breaks” (co-written by Lenz and Big Sandy,) Lenz shows – by word and delivery – that she knows what’s what on a Saturday night in the Dairy Queen parking lot.
Per the photos in the CD liner notes, Lenz is also comfortable putting to work what God gave her, and more power to her. But with her fine voice and clever songwriting combined with her work on guitar, she can more than hold her own with the band. And in lead guitarist Nick Curran, Lenz has a stylistic picker who can stay neck and neck with her (“Shined Up And Ready To Shout”) down the rockingest road.
Forget the “female Elvis” business. Rather than speculate whether or not she represents what a female Elvis would sound like instead, let’s say that if Chris Issak had a sister, she might sound like Kim Lenz. And if that was the case, people would likely be calling him “Kim Lenz’ brother.”
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’09 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.