Tag Archives: singer/songwriter

Allan Frank: A Songwriter’s Songwriter

Singer/Songwriter and KC Cafe Radio Performing Artist Allan Frank has been surrounded by music practically all his life. Growing up in the American Midwestern town of Peoria, Illinois, Frank was caught playing on his grandfather’s piano, making up stories as he played along, at the ripe young age of 3. It wasn’t until age 16, however, when Allan picked up his first musical instrument, a guitar his parents had given him.

As he got older, he became involved in musical theater, and eventually graduated from college with a theater degree. He also discovered his guitar playing skills were in high demand in theater, and he began toying with putting lyrics with song. It wasn’t long that Allan found himself writing for events and issues outside of the theater, and a new songwriter was born.

He later traveled to Europe, and eventually relocated to California, where he continued to hone his craft as a songwriter. His skill as a talented songwriter continued to develop, both in Los Angeles and in Nashville. He became involved in collaborative efforts with some of the most influential songwriters around, including Gary Burr and Chris Tompkins.

Allan’s first full-length album is called The Road So Far, and represents his journey as a genuine singer/songwriter. A blend of Americana, Country and Roots tunes, The Road So Far takes you on a heartfelt journey down the by-ways and back-roads of Middle America. Allan’s gentle down home manner is evident in his songs, reminiscent of the classic stylings of Burl Ives, Pete Seeger and Doc Watson.

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste spoke with Allan. He tells the story of growing into the art of songwriting, and how he has approached the craft over the years. They talk about the benefits of writing alone versus collaborating with other songwriters, and Allan discusses at length about songwriting as a craft, and the importance of connecting with the listener.

Listen to the interview here:

Music by Allan Frank on KC Cafe Radio:

Bill Abernathy still Finds a Way

Just 10 minutes. That’s all the time singer/songwriter Bill Abernathy needed to complete the task he was working on at the office. He had just received the call from the hospital informing him that his dad had taken a turn for the worse, and is not expected to live much longer. He figured it would take another 10 minutes to compete what he was working on, then he would be off to be by his dad’s side. When he arrived at the hospital, he found that he missed his dad’s passing by just 5 minutes.

“I think that everybody has this vision of how they would like to spend their last moments with people they love,” Bill said. “Mine was clearly being able to sit with my dad, hold his hand and tell him I loved him one more time and just watch as the lights of this world go away and the lights of the next come on. I didn’t get that chance, and it was because I had prioritized my time poorly. I had lost that balance.”

Bill Abernathy: Find A WayThat defining moment in Bill’s life would become the theme for his latest album, Find A Way. “The real theme of the album is based on something that my dad taught me,” he said. “His comment was always that if you want something bad enough in life and you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, tears and toil, you could always find a way to make that happen.” The album cover artwork he commissioned with artist Damijan Fric, depicts the great chasm that exists for many of us in life, between the demands of work life and the things we cherish in life. Yet the message of hope inspired by his dad resounds clearly in the title song – that it is indeed possible to find a way.

Bill grew up in a musical family, so putting thoughts and feelings into song isn’t too difficult for him. He grew up hanging out with his older brother and associated musician friends, listening to the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary and others. It would be Dan Fogelberg‘s 1972 album Home Free that would inspire him to pick up the guitar and learn how to play. “I learned how to play that album from start to finish,” Bill recently told KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste in an interview.

Bill also loves guitars, and has amassed quite the collection over the years, including a rather unique 9 string guitar. Recently, Bill talked with Forste via Skype. They discussed his unique guitar collection, as well as Find A Way and the story behind it’s songs. They talked at length about the struggle most musicians deal with between their musical passion and work life demands, and how he has managed to find his own way.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: Bill Abernathy 11/18/2016

Music by Bill Abernathy on KC Cafe Radio:

Lauren Adams : From Troubadour to Somewhere Else

Lauren AdamsHow many ways are there for a performing songwriter to “make it?”

You could hit the Top 40, as Ed Sheeran did.

A big-name recording artist could cover one of your songs, like when country superstar Dierks Bentley made Travis Meadows‘ song “Riser” the title track of his last album.

For Americana singer-songwriter Lauren Adams, it was when she met a fan who had tattoo’ed a line from one of her songs onto her foot. “I’ve shared the stage with some pretty big names and even had my song in a major motion picture but this girl’s foot is easily the most satisfying milestone of my career,” she said with a chuckle.

That kind of audience appreciation is what keeps an artist going in the absence of big-time success. From her first guitar lesson as a Florida teenager to her arrival in Los Angeles to her new album, Somewhere Else, Adam’s has always kept going.

Adams’ musical journey began on the stage of the world-famous Troubadour in West Los Angeles with a performance that was so tentative, she was completely caught off guard by the waves of applause. “The response was so positive,” she said, “that I realized, ‘Hey, I could actually do this.’” That was summer of 1978, when the club still hosted its open-mic “Hoot Night,” where songwriters could get up and play a few.

Since that time, Adams has opened shows for Leon Russell in Fort Lauderdale and for Rita Coolidge in Southern California; Gigged regularly (some would say “relentlessly”) at clubs and festivals across California, Texas, Colorado, and in Nashville, Tennessee; Released three albums of her own songs; Had her song “Thirsty” featured in the Lion’s Gate film Peaceful Warrior (starring Nick Nolte); And she has hosted LA’s longest-running Americana music event, the Americana Song Circle for 10 years.

On her newest album, Somewhere Else, Adams delivers quality songwriting in the Carol King/Eagles/Lucinda Williams vein: deep Americana roots and vivid storytelling delivered by a group of tasteful, compassionate players including her producer and friend Nick Kirgo (Nels Kilne of Wilco, JD Souther, Vonda Shepard, Pocket Goldberg and Dave Fraser).

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Adams via Skype. They talked about growing up with music in her life, brushing with greatness at the Trroubadour, and the uniquely rewarding connection she has been afforded between her life and her songs.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: Lauren Adams

Music by Lauren Adams on KC Cafe Radio:

 

Wyatt Brewer Writes About Life and Love

wyatt_brewerFor Kansas City native Wyatt Brewer, writing music that he loves has practically been a life-long experience.  Between his dad that lived in Kansas City’s mid-town community of Westport, and his mom who lived in the “Northland” suburbs, Wyatt enjoyed the “best of both worlds” – experiencing live music at practically every corner of the city.

It would be Wyatt’s father that had the greatest influence on him musically, however.  A musician himself, his father owned a 4-track reel-to-reel recorder, and spent hours laying tracks on various music projects.  Wyatt grew up listening to his father assemble musical works, piece-by-piece, and gained an appreciation for the intricacies of music at an early age.

Wyatt was also highly influenced by his father’s musical influences, namely The Beatles.  His father kept a notebook of songs he played, and as early as age 10, Wyatt found himself going through that notebook picking out songs he could play on guitar.

Wyatt’s journey into original songwriting was perhaps accidental, but not surprising considering his exposure to music so far.  One night, at age 14, he was walking home from an open mic event, and began humming a tune he thought was familiar.  After realizing this was something he had never heard before, he went straight home, turned on his computer, and put words to his newfound tune.  Wyatt would go on to write other original tunes, both on his own and collaboratively with musician Sarah Lynn.

While a few of his songs have been recorded to date, he has not yet released an album.  That changes this December, when he releases Factory Made, whose title cut is influenced by the 1973 Michael Crichton Science Fiction movie Westworld.

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Wyatt via Skype.  They discussed his musical upbringing, his own musical influences (besides The Beatles), the accidental meeting that led to his collaboration with Sarah Lynn, and the musical goals for his life with the forthcoming release of his new album.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: Wyatt Brewer 9/27/2016

Music by Wyatt Brewer on KC Cafe Radio:

David Hakan Sings to the Heart in Stone and Steel

David HakanSometimes the winds of change blow hard on a C harp, wail at the corporate towers and shake the roots of rock ’n’ roll.

Singer/songwriter David Hakan has lived through a lot of that change, and continues to sing about it to this day.  Along the way, he has skilfully crafted his refinement of the song and songwriting into something he now shares with others… Not just fans of his music, but other musicians as well.

A native of Kansas City, David grew up with music as an integral part of life.  His mother played piano, and exposed the family to all sorts of music. “You never knew if you were going to get opera or ‘Lovin’ Spoonful’.”  His older brothers were also quite musical, playing guitar and singing covers of Peter, Paul and Mary songs.  David fit right in, singing along with his brothers, and eventually on his own.

After years of performing his original songs in coffee houses, at folk festivals and other venues, David would go on to share his passion and experience with other musicians.  He formed the Kansas City Songwriters Circle in 1992, and has mentored many successful singer/songwriters in the Kansas City area.

David recently retired from teaching, allowing him to focus all of his time on his music.  The latest product of this change in his life is reflected in his new album, Stone and Steel.  David is also taking to touring, and plans on forming a band in the near future.

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with David via Skype.  David talks about growing up in a musical family, performing on the “coffee shop circuit,” and the importance of music in our world and the impact it has on society.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: David Hakan 7/11/2016

Music by David Hakan on KC Cafe Radio: