Since his earliest memories in life, Ken's love and appreciation of music has been eclectic. Interestingly, though today a professional guitarist, the guitar was not Ken's first choice of musical instrument to master. As a middle school student, Ken found himself sitting behind the drums, practicing away.
That all changed, at around age 13, when one day his mother presented him with a somewhat "quieter" instrument; the guitar. From that point on, Koenig never looked back. In earnest dedication, he practiced hours, days, weeks. He soon made the transition from practicing to playing.
However, Ken doesn't just play musical instruments. In his hands, musical instruments (be it guitar, ukulele, piano, mandolin, percussions, or even drums) are more than just a medium for playing music; it is an outlet of personal expression. This is evidenced in his numerous compositions.
Beginning with his first album ("Bring It Home, released in 2008), we are treated with, for example: "Stay With Me Tonight". Delivered with a mellow, folky, yet profound instrumentation, carried along with a versatile,
.............................this part is completely backwards, unpunctuated, and literally unreadable for me. The sentence has about five commas, and doesn't make sense to me.
But I digress....
The following year, we saw the release of Ken's 2nd album, Yesterday's News. In the album, we are given a somewhat nostalgic look back at some of Ken's earliest work (1995-2003). An example of this is the song "Color Me Bad," composed in 1994... in a trailer. The song provides an infectious, spunky, upbeat rhythm, carried along and augmented with some very soothing vocal harmonies. Part of the magic of Ken's albums comes from a long standing, professional relationship with fellow musicians Jerry Jennings (guitar) and Steve Stizzo (keyboard/accordion), who have played on and contributed to all of his albums.
In 2012, his 3rd album--"The Organic Life"--continues to deliver the good, as only he can. We are given a refreshingly original, yet true to form rendition of the 1967 hit by the Cowsills, "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things". Koenig augments flawless vocals with ukulele, electric guitar, and drums. In the song, he is joined by fellow musicians Steve Stizzo (drums/piano) and Mark Harmon (bass), each bringing unique contributions of their own. Harmon delivers a flowing, melodic bass line, somewhat reminiscent of Paul McCartney. We are also given another Koenig original: "Beautiful Day". Energetically optimistic, it is highlighted by a fresh and vibrant horn section, perhaps evocative of 1970's groups like Chicago (some might even say the later Beatles).
Switching gears yet never missing a beat, Koenig presents us with another poignant, heartfelt original: "Tears". Its genesis goes back to his youth (it was written when he was 19). Originally recorded on a cassette tape, it become lost at some point in time. Upon its rediscovery, Ken took this diamond in the rough, dusted it off, and reworked it for his modern audience, never losing the integrity of its feel and message. "It was written in the traditional Country/Western 'tear in my beer' theme," he said.
Of course, we would be remiss in our assessments of Ken's talents if we did not address one of his greatest talents: being a devoted husband and father. We are offered glimpses into this side of Ken in compositions such as "Golden Girl", and also on the front cover of his CD "When The Last Shining Star Falls". (The cover is an actual drawing by his then 7 year old daughter, Amanda)
The song "Golden Girl" is a beautifully stark, heartfelt expression of a father's love for his daughter(s) So, a major aspect of Ken's talent, musicianship, and presentation can be summed up in one word: "versatility". Whether it be his versatility in his playing of musical instruments, or the versatility in his repertoire. Whether one of his own compositions ("Never Miss Another Day") or a traditional standard ("Singing the Blues"), any performance by Ken Koenig is guaranteed to strike a chord in all of us! (no pun intended ;) )