Down the Rabbit Hole With Out Guitarist Kaki King
Think back--if you will-- to that time in your life where everything was crisp and new and the whole world seemed to sparkle filtered through the lens of your imagination.
For most, that long-gone time of fascination and wonder are like dreams that shimmer on the edge of their consciousness visiting only during slumber and sometimes not at all.
However, there are those with the ability to grasp hold of those willowy vespers of memory and nostalgia in order to weave them into a rich tapestry of artistry enrapturing and enriching others with its brilliance. This particular brand of artistry is exactly what Atlanta native and critically acclaimed guitarist Kaki King seems to be shooting for in her latest offering "Until We Felt Red".
"I've always been in love with music from an early age," the diminutive songwriter admitted in a recent phone interview with O&AN. Her voice is quiet and dreamy as she speaks having awakened from an afternoon nap for our chat, "But I never had a calculated plan to become a musician. It just fell into my lap. Music has always been a part of my life and even if I weren't making records music would still be a huge part of who I am."
Happenstance though it might have been, praise abounds for King's unique guitar style incorporating complex and percussive fret-tapping and slap bass techniques. The resulting effect earned King comparisons to Ani DiFranco, Michael Hedges and Victor Wooten as well as accolades that named her the Queen of Acoustic Guitar. These are not undeserved at all as Kings passion for music is the element that is most evident in all of her work this far.
"Music is the one thing that I've been passionate about that I'm really good at," King said stifling a yawn, her voice stretching no doubt as taught as her arms as she attempts to brush away the winnowsome cobwebs of sleep,” I’ve been good at things before and I've been passionate about things before but music is the only area where the two meet in my life."
It was this growing mountain of praise and attention that caused the so-called "Tapping Girl" to change directions and take time to follow her Muse down the rabbit hole. The result is a musical journey into a magical land of harmonious textures and groovy melodies laced with a whimsical feel not often approached by today's popular musicians. In order to do this King reached back into her past pulling influences from the pop music of her teen years resulting in an album that is a mixed bag of music including both the acoustic influences that that worked so well for her before as well as a strong dose of indie-pop fleshing out the sound fabulously.
"I felt like I had reached a creative dead-end with acoustic guitar," Said King seemingly now awake and alert, "I felt like I needed to travel a different path for a while before I could continue on my journey with the instrument. I took a bunch of skeletal songs that I had written on guitar and experimented with putting meat on them with a bunch of instruments I had never used before."
The passion that King harbors for her craft is evident in every haunting melody, every pointed lyric and every lilting harmony. While "Until We Felt Red" is a serious and sophisticated piece of work, Kaki King has brought to the table a real childlike quality that is woven throughout the album. Like Lewis Carrol's title character and her Rabbit, King has taken her listeners on a fantastic journey of imagination and discovery that will be a vivid part of their lives even after the dream's conclusion. King admits that from here she doesn't know where her eclectic style will evolve.
"I want to do something that will challenge me musically and intellectually," King explains, "It's hard to say where the Muse will lead you." And no matter where that may be, King is one to follow even when she jumps down a rabbit hole.
O&AN will be giving away ten copies of Kaki King's "Until We Felt Red" to readers. To win a copy simply send an e-mail with "King" in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries and notified by e-mail. Prizes will be shipped via US postal service.