War On Drugs lead guitarist from the beginning (2005) until 2009 he decided to fly higher than that and dedicated himself fully to his solo career. Fortunately for him and for Us but really unfortunate for the band that lost this “Pure Gold” guitarist (although David Hartley took good care of this job) that proves with every new song his statute as part of the revolution of the upcoming Stars of Blues.
Born in 1980, it was already in 1994 that he started recording himself in his room after his father gave him a Banjo trying to influence him (successfully) to take a look to those weird chords coming out of that circular looking guitar and show him the base of GrassRoots Blues. At the time, in his words, “I kind of wished [it] was a guitar. So I’d kind of just play it like a guitar anyway.” and truth is nothing stopped him ever since.
There are not many songs that as soon as they start break my soul apart as in “Life Like This”, not due to the lyrics but to the instrumental show he puts on, from a repetitive guitar punch as sad as life can be with slight pins of innocence brought up by the keyboard that every time that tries to bring some cheer to this song just dies among the heavy soul guitar screams many times slightly out of tune, probably because in life we rarely manage to be perfectly tuned.
For 3 years in his life, when many of us are in college, Kurt was working as a Forklifter, unloading trucks, to earn his money in order to keep making music always as his main project and not as a sideline job. A pretty rough time as he felt he could be doing something greater if studying but always wanting to focus the maximum amount of time in music.
Nowadays he is as successful as War On Drugs, in terms of monthly listeners on Spotify, which demonstrates his heavy success in such a short period of time since his solo career did not start until 2009. His first major hit was “Baby’s Arms” from his 2010 Album, his third completed project, and the one where his GrassRots Blues meet a kind of Indie voice he has and a new music genre is created.
From that point on many comparisons with Tom Petty, Beck or even Neil Young however Kurt’s style has always been really personal since his voice makes every song to be immediately recognisable to be his as well as the unique and raw instrumentals he adds to them that print his watermark in every chord.
Finally in this latest work, “B’lieve Im Goin Down” Kurt mixed everything he had done so far and released what is definitely his best work so far. One of the most amazing things we can notice from this artist is that one can hear any song of his curriculum and will not feel any difference in style, only in quality (that keeps evolving) and clearness of ideas that come with maturity of a 37 year old man with a 20 year old career, married to a teacher with two baby daughters. The electric guitar was left a bit apart to give room to a piano in”Times Like These” and to a banjo in “I’m an Outlaw”.
Kurt is going to be one of those artists that really leaves his mark when he parts to the other side of this World since we probably will never have this sonority not only, due to the already many times pointed out uniqueness of his music, as well as, to the fact that as few artist do he keeps alive a music genre like the Blues and redefines its roots with an incredible sense of belonging that one would only have if he would live in the 60’s when this was what everyone wanted to hear.
Keep being yourself and this will be the only way you will leave an unique mark in this World is the lesson we learn with Kurt. Not an easy one to put in practice in today’s society… But if he can, We will as well!