The Rocks Off 100: Folk Descendent Kevin Taylor Kendrick
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Kevin Taylor Kendrick is a family man. From a young age, he learned the tricks of the trade of country and folk music from the generations of his elders who were involved in the music one way or another. Kendrick is also of his generation, though, reflecting the restlessness of Gen Y.
"My vision changed from time to time, wanting to be the next Mozart, to wanting to be in a punk band, to being obsessed with '50s and '60s pop," Kendrick says. He even played in an instrumental progressive-rock band throughout high school called Rise Over Ruin.
But at age 17, he returned to his roots and started writing his own songs on the acoustic guitar and learning banjo. What changed for him?
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"After high school," he explains, "I had a lot of free time and discovered my absolute love for writers like Townes Van Zandt and [Bob] Dylan."
Kendrick has a new album coming out soon called Afternoon, and Early Evening; you can hear the first single, "Art of Ball and Chain" on his Bandcamp page. The album is informed by those folkie roots, as well as time he spent playing guitar, bass, banjo, and mandolin in a band called Cadre.
"That was a short-lived stint but had a profound effect on my musical vision," says Kendrick.
Home Base: "I do pretty much everything in my bedroom -- write, practice, stare at wall and play one chord repeatedly," Kendrick explains of his process. "Tear up lyrics and fall asleep."
That being said, he counts Fitzgerald's and House of Blues among his favorite venues to play, along with Westheimer spot AvantGarden. In his own words, "AvantGarden always will be dear to me. It's where I've spent the majority of my time playing."
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "Houston is my home," he says. "There are plenty of people here who want to appreciate live music. I think its extremely important for Houston musicians to support them, as much as musicians need their support. I honestly couldn't see myself leaving permanently for that reason."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "I think my biggest pet peeve in the Houston music scene is the lack of communication between musicians," Kendrick says. "It just has always felt a bit scattered to me. I think that's one thing, as a music community, we could really do better."
The story continues on the next page.
Good War Story: "I was nominated best songwriter in the 2011 Houston Press Music Awards," Kendrick begins. "Right before the showcase I had broken the pick up in my guitar. I was scrambling to find another guitar to use. I was able to obtain one from a friend. I made it to the showcase right before I was supposed to play.
"Me and Nathan Quick [lead guitarist in Kendrick's band] set up, and on the first song I broke two strings and had no spares," he continues. "I played the rest of the set with four strings. On the second [song], my cable died and we had to stop and switch it out. We finally made some ground, and on our fifth song Nathan knocked over the mike and dented it. It was a total clusterfuck.
"So obviously I drowned my woes in some Lone Star. The next day I saw a writeup on our performance that was, well, pretty unflattering."
Best Show Ever: "I played the Warehouse Live Green Room about eight months ago, with Chase Hamblin," says Kendrick. "I thought I played really well, the room sounded great, my musicians were on point, the crowd was fun. It was a really enjoyable experience."
Five Desert Island Discs:
First Song You Ever Fell In Love With: Responding with a laugh, "definitely 'Dammit' by blink-182 in, like, 5th grade," Kendrick says.
See who else has joined the Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.
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