Thursday, November 10, 2016

NERFA This Weekend - Folk Comes to Stamford CT!

Though we're still all recovering from the election (and its aftermath), life does go on, and this weekend I'll be joining a few hundred of my folksinger friends at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance conference in Stamford, CT. I'll be doing some late night showcases (listed below), both solo and with Mara Levine, and we'll also be in the exhibit hall at tables 19 & 20. Stop by and say hi if you make it!

Friday Night:

12:15-12:45  Room 2043  Rhode Trip (tk w/ Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli, Grant Maloy Smith)
1:15-1:45  Room 2076  Jane's Joint (tk & mara w/ John Ferullo)
2-2:30  Room 2068  LilFest (tk & mara)

Saturday Night:
1-1:30  Room 2103  Access Film Blue (tk & mara w/ Robin Greenstein)
1:55-2:15  Room 2048  SAW Senate (tk & mara)


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Spirits of '76

I don't get back to Findlay, Ohio very often, but last weekend was a good excuse - my high school reunion, and a chance to make some noise with my high school bandmates. We re-learned Alice Cooper's 'I'm Eighteen' (which we used to do when we were 15) and Mott's 'All the Young Dudes' and snuck in 3 songs from our 1985 vinyl record. I'm sure we had more fun playing than the poor souls who had to listen to us (after one quick rehearsal that afternoon) but they seemed to enjoy us and some even danced, making it more successful than our average '70s Findlay Teen Center gig. Bill, Chris and I (collectively known as Loose Ties once we hit Boston) were joined by our classmate Dave Young on keyboards - the first time we'd ever played together. Maybe we should start a band...

That morning was a tour of the high school, which was the first I'd seen of a mural of class valedictorians, which elicited a collective gasp from my classmates: you were valectictorian? A review of grade point averages has been undertaken, and I expect to be demoted any day.

 Though my years in Findlay came at a tough time for my family, just after the loss of my only sibling Amy, it was nice to go back and get to spend time with the relatively small group of people (within our big class) that I really did connect with, and who made me feel welcome back in the day. The day after the reunion was beautiful, and I got to kayak on the Blanchard River through the countryside east of town. Legend has it the river inspired Tell Taylor to pen "Down by the Old Mill Stream" much as Findlay inspired my songs "The Seven-Eleven Overture" and "I Own This Town." Long live the spirits of '76!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Terry Kitchen & Mara Levine at People's Voice Cafe, NYC Sat Sept 17

Terry Kitchen and Mara Levine will be singing at the People's Voice Cafe in NYC on Saturday September 17. Also peforming will be the progressive folk band Hudson Valley Sally. The concert begins at 8 PM and admission is $20 ($12 subscribers). The People's Voice Cafe is held at the Community Church of NY, 40 East 35th Street (between Madison & Park). It should be a great night of inspiring music so we hope you can make it! More info at

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Brian Wilson - The Tote Bag

Last Friday Cindy and I and our friend Elaine went to Boston's Symphony Hall to hear the Boston Pops. Well, maybe more to hear their special guest, who used to be in this surf band. The guest was of course Brian Wilson, with Beach Boys alums Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin and a full band, in town to perform the group's 1966 album Pet Sounds. (The album was released in May of that year, making it both fifty years old AND ahead of its time. Sgt. Pepper's, the album it's most often compared to, wasn't released until June of 1967, a full year later.)

If you've seen Love and Mercy or know the Beach Boys' back story, you'd probably be wondering, like I was, if Brian was up to it - being the center of attention for a full evening, let alone being able to actually still sing. The orchestra wandered on, then the band, then, led by the stage manager, Brian himself, to a genuine hero's welcome by the crowd. Luckily there was no one behind me because I didn't sit down for the next hour.

The first set was Beach Boys' hits plus a few of Brian's solo recordings - everything but Pet Sounds - and Brian was engaged, introducing each song, sometimes funny but never ironic, much like his lyrics. He couldn't hit the high notes but did fine otherwise, and Al Jardine's son Matt added the falsetto that Brian lacked, sometimes taking over mid-line. The Beach Boys were already square when I started listening to music in the mid '60s, but 'In My Room' and 'Don't Worry Baby' were perfect singles then and were just as perfect in concert fifty years on. Blondie Chaplin came on for a few post-Pet Sounds tunes, 'Wild Honey' and 'Sail On Sailor,' and added some testosterone to balance Brian's romantic but chaste persona.

Set two was Pet Sounds, performed in its entirety - at least. With the full band of multiple guitarists, keyboardists, percussionists and singers, not to mention the full orchestra standing by, I bet every note on Pet Sounds was covered, even the theremin and car honks, and many were doubled. It was very nice, with some genuine highlights - Al Jardine's vocal on 'Sloop John B,' Brian and Al's call and response vocal on the tag of 'God Only Knows,' Nick Walusko's vintage Fender Jaguar on the tune 'Pet Sounds' - but it was more like a recital than a rock concert. Even the finale of the post-Pet Sounds single 'Good Vibrations' - one of the high points of the rock era - was a little too perfect to feel like rock'n'roll. But hey, I got to witness history, and I can only hope to perform as competently when I get to be Brian's age.

They let the orchestra go home, and Brian and the band came back on for an encore set of early Boys surf rock, with people twisting in the front rows. Fun, but still curiously harmless, like being at the taping of a PBS special. Then Love and Mercy, maybe his best solo song, given added poignancy by the movie's public airing of his private nightmare, and Brian was led offstage, band still playing. We happened to exit past the stage door, and saw Nick and some of the other band members greeting the crowd. Brian, we assumed, like Elvis, had left the building. But, unlike Elvis, Brian is still here to get the accolades he deserves. I don't call many people genius, but Brian is one of them. I dare anyone to write a song more romantic than 'Don't Talk, Put Your Head on My Shoulder,' more honest than 'In My Room,' or more heartbreaking than 'Caroline, No.' Long live Brian, and Al, and Pet Sounds. Elaine even bought the tote bag.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Emma's Possibilities

            Last night at the Club Passim open mic in Cambridge I heard a talented young woman sing a song I thought was called "Emma's Possibilities," about a girl about to graduate and go out into the world, and all that awaited her. About halfway through the song I realized she was saying "endless possibilities," but by that time I had a whole story in my head going on about Emma - what would await her here in 2016, and beyond?
            The singer, an art school student, was of Asian-American descent, and played a ukulele rather than the folk-standard guitar. I don't know what research the Census Bureau has done on ukes versus guitars, but they have declared that by 2044, somewhere around Emma's fiftieth birthday, the U.S. will become a minority-majority country. That is, less than fifty percent of the country will non-Hispanic white.
            A year ago that might not have seemed such a big deal. After all, we have an African-American president, and the Hispanic and Asian percentage of Americans has been growing for decades. But the 2016 election - the first presidential election Emma will be old enough to vote in - reveals that many Americans are not ready for the rainbow America is becoming.
            In the 1980 election - the first presidential election I was old enough to vote in - we elected in a landslide a former B-movie actor who promised, in both his rhetoric and his policy proposals, to take us back to the 1950s, when life and politics were simple, and the world was divided into good (us), evil (the U.S.S.R.), and irrelevant (the rest of the world, except as chess pieces in the struggle between the two superpowers). We are generally regarded as having won that struggle, but life in the '80s was not so simple - along with images of the Berlin Wall coming down we should recall the bloody wars in Central America (in the name of fighting communism), our impotence in the Middle East (the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing which killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French servicemen), our tragically slow response to the AIDS epidemic, and, perhaps most tellingly, Reagan's removal of the solar panels which Jimmy Carter had installed on the White House.
            Here in 2016, the Republican candidates are promising to take us back to Reagan's '80s. But the world is even more complex, with more and bigger problems with no simple solutions. Driving many, if not most, of these problems is human population growth: Earth's population, around three billion when I was born, reached seven billion in 2011 and is expected by United Nations estimates to reach between eight and eleven billion by Emma's fifty-fifth birthday in 2050. So demand, and competition, for resources - water, food, housing, energy - will only increase, and the strain on all of our planet's already-taxed ecosystems to meet those demands will also increase. And we're crowding out other species as we grow.
            There has been progress - the development of renewable energies, new and more efficient methods of transportation and communication, great strides in medicine and genetics, greater acceptance of gays and other alternative identities in mainstream culture, and awareness of our planet as a finite resource - and hopefully Emma and her generation will continue to meet the many challenges we are leaving them. But it will be a bumpy ride. And until we resolve political problems like income inequality, access to health care, immigration status, money in politics, and institutional racism, it will be an uphill climb. And chances are that Emma and her classmates are starting that climb thousands of dollars in the hole from student loans.
            Despite all this, Emma's possibilities are endless. She may not have the blind faith in the American Dream that previous generations had, but that dream didn't apply to whole swaths of our country's population anyway. Emma will live on a warmer planet with more people, so she'll have to be resourceful, and she may have to re-invent herself multiple times as the world changes at an ever-faster pace. But the payoff is experiencing, and helping shape, the future, instead of trying to hide in the past. If you were at Club Passim last night hearing all about Emma's possibilities, you'd be hopeful too.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

TK interview and song on Standing "O" and Art of the Song!

(photo of tk's new spring haircut by John Allen)

I was recently interviewed by Katie Mitchell for the Standing "O" Project about my song "Sequel," growing up in the '60s, going to college with Barry (Obama), & folk music and politics. You can listen here

 and on itunes

& there are lots of other interesting interviews on the Standing "O" website

(and I have a page there as well filled with fun facts & dark secrets). "Sequel" will also be featured on next week's Art of the Song radio program and podcast. Thanks Katie!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Instead of Donald Trump, Vote for Me!

     If you're wondering who to vote for on Super Tuesday (or any day this week), how about...Terry Kitchen? My new CD The Post-American Century is up for Album/EP of the Year (Solo) in Limelight Magazine's 8th Annual Music Awards. Please vote early and often - the poll's open from now until this Friday March 4 at 11:45 PM (EST), and you can vote up to 4 times from each IP address. Thanks for your support, and thanks to Limelight Magazine for supporting the Mass.-Rhode Island music scene!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Goin' to Kansas City!
     The international Folk Alliance conference takes place this week in Kansas City, and I will be there to hype my new CD The Post-American Century, do some showcases with my friends Mara Levine, Janne Henshaw, Johnsmith and James Curley, and generally cause trouble. I'll arrive Thursday just in time for the Folk-DJ reception, then perform and schmooze as below. See you there!
Thursday Nite 12-12:30 LilFest  (room 727) w/ Mara Levine, Janne Henshaw

Thursday Nite 12:30-1  Access Film yellow  (room 755)  w/ Mara Levine 

Friday 10 AM-1 PM  Exhibit Hall Booth 605 w/ Mara Levine, Dennis Warner, Stuart Markus

Friday Nite 11-11:20  NERFA Presents  (room 625) w/ Mara Levine

Friday Nite 1-1:30  LilFest  (room 727)  w/ Mara Levine, John Smith

Friday Nite 2-2:30  Austin Skyline  (Room 607)  w/ James Curley

Saturday 10 AM-1 PM  Exhibit Hall Booth 605 w/ Mara Levine, Dennis Warner, Stuart Markus

Saturday Nite 12:30-1  Access Film yellow (room 755) w/ Mara Levine, Stuart Markus

Saturday Nite  2-2:30  LilFest  (room 727)  w/ Mara Levine

More on the conference at