Kam Franklin: “Byrd And Shepard”

Claire McAdams

Admirers of modern Texas soul-funk-R&B ought to already be well acquainted with Houston outfit The Suffers. And if you’re hip to that group, you’re also aware that part of what makes them so special is frontwoman Kam Franklin.

This powerhouse can make just about any subject matter sound groovy as hell, so as a performance artist, orator, and activist, it’s no surprise that Kam’s comfortable broaching some tough topics as well. Within her solo saga that really started picking up steam at the turn of the 2020s, Franklin’s recently tackled two notorious United States hate crimes, that of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard on her aptly titled latest single “Byrd And Shepard”.

The weight and pain of all-too-real bigotry history doesn’t stop Franklin from soaring on “Byrd And Shepard”, in which a simple percussive pulse and tortured key-and-six-string pairings support Kam’s championing of checking facts and protecting poignant books that policymakers want to ban. Behold Kam Franklin as she joins the star-studded lineup that wraps up KUTX’s 10th Birthday Concert Series with Walker Lukens’ The Last Walt tomorrow night at The Paramount, and give “Byrd And Shepard” a few extra spins not only in the name of preserving our painful-yet-important past, but also because it’s a powerful ballad that could’ve been a Whitney Houston/Tina Turner-Highwaymen collaboration.

Byrd And Shepard

Kam Franklin



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