Rob Kendt - I'm Not Sentimental

Drummer Matt North Produces
Rob Kendt's "I'm Not Sentimental"

Drummer/producer Matt North was making a record in L.A., and he realized it needed a little something extra. So he called up an old college friend, with whom he once played alongside in John Garvey's University of Illinois jazz band: celebrated bassist and recording artist Viktor Krauss. Viktor, known for his solo records and his work with Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell, John Fogerty, and his sister Alison, added his nuanced playing to two tracks on the new CD by singer/songwriter Rob Kendt: the country shuffle "Pick Me," and a quietly riotous lounge mash-up of Britney and the Beatles, "Oops I Did Bungalow Bill."

I'm Not Sentimental, which features drumming, percussion, and production by Matt North and mastering by Mike Hagler (Wileo, Neko Case, The New Pornographers), is full of such surprises and guest stars:

  • Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell, John Fogerty)
  • J'anna Jacoby (Rod Stewart, Dixie Chicks)
  • Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, Fiona Apple, KD Lang)
  • Abby Travis (Beck, The Bangles)
  • Matt Fish (Alejandro Escovedo, John Cale)
  • Tommy Morgan (Randy Newman, Brian Wilson)

Since he left Illinois and took up residence in Los Angeles, Matt has found random success as a writer and an actor on HBO' s Curb Your Enthusiasm. But it's music, which he started playing alongside professionals at a young age at Champaign-Urbana's Nature's Table, including former John Coltrane bassist Rafael Garrett, that keeps him going. In addition to working with Kendt, he's one half of the rocking country/comedy duo Hail the Size, and he records and performs regularly with Jesse DeNatale, David Hopkins, Mink Stole, and former Lone Justice lead singer Maria McKee. Matt resides in Los Angeles, while Rob Kendt lives in Brooklyn.


The sound of Rob Kendt's I'm Not Sentimental has a 'Lyle Lovett meets the Beatles' vibe to it ... but with odd-ball lyrics filled with humorous sarcasm and a touch of self-conflict. The story-telling nature of the entire CD reminds me of incidental music in a theatrical setting with its strong melodies and jocular wordplay.

As drummer and producer, Matt North has done a fine job. Some things on the album pushed my pedantic button a bit, like when the claves on "Nothing To Prove" doubled the drumset cross-stick exactly. But overall, North's drumming is solid and lively throughout. His cymbal work and use of brushes are especially noteworthy.

The organic sonic nature and feel of the entire project will leave you feeling ... sentimental.