Kyle Haller Band make music steeped in the tradition of artists like Bob Dylan, The Band, the Grateful Dead, and other artists from the ’60s and ’70s that put as much into the journey of a song as they did the destination, breezing through styles as diverse as rock, pop, country, zydeco, and a good helping of jam band tradition.
Haller has been a Fort Wayne music staple for years, donning stages in bands like Phil’s Family Lizard and Grateful Groove, but he’s always wanted to perform and record his own songs. With the Kyle Haller Band’s debut album Boundless and Free, he’s got that chance.
Over the course of 13 tracks, Kyle Haller, along with Steve Wright, Kevin Jackson, Nate Shultz, Cami Yoder, and a Who’s Who of Fort Wayne talent, satiate any musical hungers one might have.
If you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, Kyle Haller Band has you covered. Album opener “When You’re With Me” is an epic tune that brings to mind Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend” for the first half, then shifts gears in the last couple minutes into a serious ’70s funk that’s one part Junkyard Band and two parts Bootsy Collins. “Lovelight” is a heaping scoop of Motown, R&B, and Duke Tumatoe for good measure. “Drive Me Mad” is a little Blues Traveler mixed with some exquisite fiddle courtesy of the great Felix Moxter.
There’s a lot of music history in Kyle Haller Band’s DNA, both classic and modern, with bits of Blood on the Tracks’ storytelling intertwined with earthy Rusted Root vibes.
“Sobriety” is a story-song in the tradition of “Tangled Up in Blue,” complete with drugs in the trunk, highway patrol, and a courtroom plea. There’s also a heartfelt and earnest cover of Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” Haller’s daughter Ruby even gets in on the action on album closer “When The Music’s Over.”
It may have taken him years, but Kyle Haller has finally put to tape a collection of his own songwriting. Kyle Haller Band’s Boundless and Free is a solid debut.