By Lee Zimmerman
Although Jeff Kelly made an emphatic impression with Seattle’s trippy Green Pajamas, his solo sojourns have found him traipsing through more terrestrial planes. Not surprisingly then, his latest individual effort, Beneath the Stars, Above the River, has him venturing still further from the 1960s psychedelia that his band cultivated so thoroughly over the course of their 20 year run. Inspired by recent visits to Spain and Portugal, Kelly assumes the role of a travel guide and romantic gypsy, imbuing the music with a romantic allure that’s intensely exotic. It’s evident that Kelly was enthralled by the lure of those distant destinations, and indeed, it only takes a cursory look at the song titles to get a sense of the atmospheric imagery he aspired to throughout. “Hush of the Summer Night,” “Moon Over Granada,” “The Lisbon Vampire,” and “Alleys of Madrid” are etched with reverence and fascination, all dream-like soirees spawned from cobbled streets, sidewalk cafes and hillside villas overlooking the sea. Occasional hints of the Green Pajamas’ cosmic musings occasionally intrude and intrigue, but mostly they entwine with the ambiance overall.