It goes without saying that being the offspring of a famous father or mother has its challenges, especially when it comes to carving out one's own career. And when your dad is an American icon like Kris Kristofferson, naturally it's all the more daunting still.
So credit Casey Kristofferson for fearlessly facing down the pundits and ignoring the inevitable comparisons that are sure to follow. "Dirty Feet," her initial album with the band that bears her name is astute, assured and a sure sign that her father's fame aside, she's clearly capable of winning recognition on her own. Granted, covering a well trod standard like "Me & Bobby McGee" suggests that's she's not shying away from her family ties entirely, but, regardless, one would expect at least a minimal representation of that classic catalog to play a role in her wheelhouse regardless. Still, she has several other assets she can draw on, including an able collaborator in bandmate Andy Buckner, whose own songwriting adds an essential element of its own.
Indeed, the strengths of these songs serve the band well. Buckner's "Only Thing Can't Do Without" brings to mind Jason Isbell's "Vampires" in its tone and tenacity. There's also a similarity in sound conveyed by the younger Kristofferson's co-write, "Quit Drinking Less," a track which recalls the spit and snarl of outlaw country noir, that proffered by Waylon Jennings in particular.
Truth be told, there's not a single selection here that doesn't ring with confidence and credibility, each of them capable of lifting Kristofferson to a high tier of her own making. There's no need for her to compete with pop; Casey's made a name for herself, and it clearly serves her well.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer and author based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles. His book -- Americana Music - Voices, Visionaries and Pioneers of an Honest Sound is available from Texas A&M University Publishing.