In 2002 Kevin released Ship to Shore, his first professionally produced CD of mostly non-pirate material. Of course that didn’t stop Kevin from draping the album in nautical decoration and theme, both exterior and interior, with songs such as Radioman and Open Your Heart to the Sea. The easy listening disc (yes, I dare use that term) was inspired by Kevin’s love of XTC, Brian Wilson, and the sea.
Review from Two Louies Magazine
Ship to Shore
10/1/2002 As one of the founders of the curious “pirate band” movement that scuttled Portland a few years back, leaving the city awash in “avast ye landlubbers” and “arrr… mateys,” Kevin Hendrickson deserves to be commended or shot, depending on your musical vantage point. His involvement with some of the foremost bands of the ilk: Pirate Jenny and Captain Bogg & Salty, is proof enough of his commitment to the genre (if, indeed, it is a genre).
But those expecting swashbuckling rock and roll sea chanteys, thick with “yard arms” and “bilge water,” will be somewhat disappointed by several songs within this wonderful pop album. Still, those longing for the foam of Jenny’s “Strap On Your Courage,” might find something a bit familiar in “Radioman,” “Open Your Heart To The Sea” or “Gumbo Jim.” So the territory here isn’t all that different, really. Whatever the case, Hendrickson proves himself to be a talented songwriter and musician, capable of walking a much longer plank than the musical pirate ship might provide.
First among the ten songs offered on this outing is the sporty “If I Could Make My Dreams Into Movies.” John Morgan’s straight-forward drumming and peripatetic Eric Furlong’s sparse, liquid basslines are the impellants behind Kevin’s cool and sure Rhodes-line electric piano and slightly funky rhythm guitar. Recalling the blue-eyed soul of Squeeze from the early ’80s, a non-depressed E of the Eels or a half-speed Weezer, a memorable chorus keeps interest high.
“I’m Breathing” fairly continues the mood of its predecessor, with Hendrickson doing his own basswork, exchanging a thick organ tone for the electric piano and toughening the guitar presentation slightly, lain over Morgan’s trusty drumming. The vocal melody is reminiscent of something Crash Test Dummies might create, but Kevin’s voice is sort of sincerely reedy, quite unlike the Dummies’ Brad Roberts’ cocky muggy croak.
“Radioman,” which is probably the best bet for a single, is an energetic number, with warbling farfisa organ and low-string guitar lines (with hints of arpeggiated synth flutes and heavily effected piano), sounds like ’60s-revival ’80s stuff, which would make the time just about right… A good seagoing story of a lyric will warm the cockles of all the lonesome sailors out there. Good stuff.
With a melody vaguely derived from the French song “La-Mer,” which Bobby Darin released as “Beyond The Sea,” in the early ’60s, Kevin Hendrickson delivers “Open Your Heart To The Sea” as a homely paean to the salt air and, of course, l’amour. A couple of acoustic guitars and a little percussion, a solitary descending bassline on piano an occasional ring of the autoharp and voila. Nothing to it.
Tony Lash’s brilliantly unusual drum support on “Rainbow Wings” adds propulsion to an otherwise melancholy number, very pretty, but nostalgic and autumnal, like the Irish air “Danny Boy.” Wobbly keyboard strings and heavily effected guitars add excessive moth-like flutter to the presentation, making pitch a variable, apparently intentionally.
The Weezer sound comes up again on “Let It Show,” a jaunty, optimistic number with a positive message and dueling lead guitars. “Gumbo Jim,” a tale about a woeful old character, has a melody faintly similar to Paul SImon’s “American Tune.” Hendrickson displays a consistent knack for cobbling together melodies from familiar fragments. A Russian folk melody and lurching upstroke rhythm guitar lends a spooky aura to the sad lyrics of an unhappy highschool incident on “Love’s Villains.”
Humor is the fulcrum on the clever, “Vague Recollection” which sounds like something from the “Double White” period Beatles. “Pacific Wonderland” is a heartfelt ditty, that praises the splendor of our Northwest home in simple, uncomplicated words. Another pretty little song.
Kevin Hendrickson distinguishes himself as a craftsman of rustic folk/rock of modest gravity, but with a high entertainment quotient. He has the ability to embroider his songs with interesting instrumentation (he was helped here in this by producer Jeff Saltzman at Larry Crane’s Jackpot Recording Studios). Hendrickson is smart, witty and clever. This is an album deserving of closer attention.
S.P. Clarke, TWO LOUIES, Oct. 2002
Willamette Week article on Ship to Shore release
11/20/2002 Hendrickson, best known from his swashbuckling band Pirate Jenny, releases his solo album Ship to Shore. A few nautical lyrics aside, Hendrickson’s solo work follows a somewhat different star than Pirate Jenny and arrives at a place where winking ’80s British pop bands like XTC and Squeeze strum alongside ’70s songsmiths like Jimmy Webb. More witty than wild, if nothing else the album indicates the erstwhile pirate’s got more than just a gimmick to fall back on. (JG)
LaurelThirst, 2958 NE Glisan St., 232-1504. 9:30 pm. $3. 21+.
The Oregonian A&E
11/22/2002 He must have been a sailor in another life. In this one, Hendrickson’s a musician so enamored of the sea that he’s led two popular, clever pirate-themed bands, Pirate Jenny and Capt. Bogg & Salty. His new solo debut features more emotionally expressive, XTC-influenced pop. But obsessions linger: the disc is titled “Ship to Shore.”
9 p.m., Laurelthirst Public House, 2958 N.E. Glisan St.; cover charge.