Kane Kalas, High Hopes Review
High Hopes: Kane Kalas Revives the Golden Age with a Contemporary Twist
By Stamish Malcuss
In the musical sphere, it’s a rare feat for an artist to combine a classical legacy with a modern sensibility, while also providing a robust emotional homage to their roots. Enter Kane Kalas—a name synonymous with the Philadelphia Phillies, thanks to his father, Harry Kalas, the voice of the Phillies for 37 years. Kane, an artist who is not only keeping his father’s tradition alive but also reimagining American Standards, gifts us High Hopes, an album that is as sophisticated as it is heartwarming.
The record is a veritable “who’s who” of Philadelphia’s music scene. From baritone guitar and vocal soloist Lou Brody, who lends a certain gravitas to tracks like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” to John Conahan’s masterful handling of piano, organ, and choral direction, the album is imbued with a rare collaborative energy. Not to forget, the orchestra adds not just a lush background but often steps into the spotlight—Matt Davis’ guitar solo in “If Ever I Would Leave You” serves as a perfect example.
“All of Me” features Kane’s warm vocals. His approach is classic in following Sinatra’s steps, but he is charting his own course with a playful rhythm and emotive turns. His phrasing gives the old classic a new life, revealing the vulnerability in the song with rhythmic integrity and melodic nuance.
Sinatra’s influence continues with “Luck Be a Lady,” delivering a standout musical expression by the band and Kane. Kane enhances the melody with his unique stylings, showcasing a flair for rhythmic accents and glissandos that make the tune his own. The ensemble playing is robust and in the pocket, and the strings add just the right amount of elegance that matches Kane’s classic gentlemanly vibe.
“High Hopes” is a light-hearted moment and the title track that transcends mere nostalgia to become a motivational anthem. Supported by the Members of the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale, Kane amplifies the joy imbued in the song’s notes and lyrics, making it a centerpiece of the album.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” finds Kane delving into gospel roots. Kane also shows a wide vocal range as he sings in his lower register and moves up to the emotive falsetto phrases. Kane adopts a vocal path that connects heaven and earth, and the Elvis Presley influence adds a timeless aura to the track.
The musical odyssey is so deeply rooted in Kane’s familial and local history that it transcends mere auditory experience. Each track is a narrative filled with nostalgia, history, and tribute, notably to his late father. The meticulous arrangements often echo Kane’s emotional state—elation, contemplation, and sometimes, a bittersweet melancholy.
What elevates High Hopes is its commitment to authenticity. From using an expansive orchestra to avoiding any computer-generated instrumentation, the album is built on the richness of human artistry and connections.
In a world often fixated on artificial perfection, High Hopes is a monument to authentic music’s enduring power, collaboration’s impact, and the beauty of carrying forward a legacy. The album is a treasure trove of history, emotion, and technical brilliance. Kane Kalas does more than sing; he narrates, emotes, and revives the Golden Age of music, all while injecting his own modern twist. Whether you’re a diehard Phillies fan or a music aficionado, High Hopes is a journey worth taking.