Born in the cradle of the South, he was raised in the North by the City of the Big Shoulders, and received his education from the ethnically, economically, and culturally diverse tribes who peopled his life. Most of these folks had a knack for spinning a yarn. Many of them could carry a tune or two. He launched a career as a sponge. A job he still holds today.
He had adventures. From the housing projects of Chicago he made his way to Oak Park, the village of Frank Lloyd Wright (who loved it) and Ernest Hemingway (who didn’t). From there he travelled to The Halloween Capitol of the World, Anoka, MN, home of Garrison Keillor’s alma mater, Anoka Senior High. In high school, Lachesis set Kevin three obstacles: He was to encounter classmate, Michelle Bachmann (neé Amble). While he played the tuba, he was able to get her to sing the Anoka fight song without showing any awareness of him whatsoever.
Fortified by his first triumph, he joined the Minnesota Youth Symphony and toured Ceauşescu’s Romania, successfully visiting Dracula’s Castle on Friday the 13th, without becoming a vampire.
Throughout it all he continued a regimen of diligent tuba practice, academic ardor, and chocolate malts. His sacrifice and efforts were rewarded when he was accepted at Northwestern University, where he studied tuba with brass demigod, Arnold Jacobs. Boy howdy, did that sponge thing come in handy in college!
A college education and many months of fasting and meditation brought Kevin to the realization that there were smaller instruments than the tuba. He picked up the fiddle, learning his licks from Mark Gunther, Chirps Smith, and Tony Scarimbolo, among others. From various nymphs, sprites, fairies and djinns he learned the guitar, the autoharp, the piano, the viola, the jaw harp and the erhu. He played in the streets of Chicago, Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, and then moved to Sarona, Wisconsin, where he shed his urban ways, added storytelling to his bulging bag of tricks, and launched a trajectory of playing, telling, writing, educating and in general plying a trade for which there is no appropriate box on any federal tax form.
Armed with his magically acquired skills he set off performing at schools, libraries and concert halls around the world. The Chippewa Herald called him “…the musical shaman of Sarona.” Michelle Bachmann was (and still is) unaware of him.
He has written and produced three musicals, more than half a dozen CDs, hundreds of songs and tunes, and scored a full length movie.
In between he dashed off One Nation, a symphonic work for orchestra and Native American Drum Group. He is a founding member and fiddler for Duck for the Oyster, a traditional dance band with a loyal and growing following. From time to time he joins jazz meister, Randy Sabien on stage and the two have released a recording together: Cap a Cup of Dreams, a recording available elsewhere on this web-site.
In addition, Kevin has appeared professionally with a slew of artists including John McCutcheon, Peter Ostroushko, Ken Kolodner, Laura Risk, and The Buffalo Gals. He has performed in Europe, Asia, South America and Canada. More locally, he has appeared at the Big Top Chautauqua, The Madison Civic Center (now the Overture Center), dozens of festivals and concert halls, and the Public Library in Bottineau, North Dakota. (Gotta love small towns.)
His exploits brought him to the attention of the Emperor of the Four Cardinal Kingdoms and the Seven Far Flung Provinces, who summoned Kevin to Hayward, WI, and appointed him Grand Maestro of the Golden Orchestras of the Emperor’s Heavenly Pavilion.
He currently resides with his wife in northwestern Wisconsin. They are living happily ever after.