“One of New Englands best songwriters”
- Craig Harris, Boston Globe
“Terry Kitchen is definitely a cut above with his eye for detail and unique song ideas. With a keen sense of melody,
Terry’s songs truly deliver and take the listener on an emotional ride!”
- Jeff Pearson, The Bluebird Cafe
“Terry Kitchens songs are portraits of ordinary people and emotions, captured with extraordinary compassion, honesty and humor. A talented writer.”
- Richard Middleton, Victory Review
“Terry tackles tough personal subjects with generosity of vision.”
- Scott Alarik, Boston Globe
“Terry Kitchen's songs deftly reveal the human heart in all its grace and contradictions.”
- Si Kahn
“Terry Kitchen picks up where Elvis Costello and Tom Waits merge and leave off.”
- Vance Gilbert
Terry Kitchen is a musical storyteller.
Award-winning Boston contemporary folk singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen is as
much a storyteller as a musician. His new CD The Post-American Century combines his considerable skills as a singer, composer and guitarist with his
fearless emotional honesty, keen eye for detail, and deep empathy for his
subjects for a compelling portrait of the land we live in. The Post-American Century presents ten sketches of American life, from the unhealed schism of the
Civil War to the Baby Boom generation's looming mortality. His first release since
the 2013 publication of NEXT BIG THING, Terry's debut novel, and first full-length
folk CD since 2009's Summer to Snowflakes, The Post-American Century finds Kitchen's songcraft honed sharper than ever, with insightful lyrics matched
to moody, stick-in-your-brain melodies.
Kitchen gets plenty of help fleshing out his sparse, rootsy vignettes from a
talented group of friends including singers Mara Levine (featured on the duet
ballad "Eternity" and three other tracks) and Amy Malkoff ("Tall Against the
Wave") and players Bob Harris (who played mandolin with Johnny Cash in the
1980s), Dobroist Roger Williams (the Amy Gallatin Band), violinist Chris Devine
(Ritchie Blackmore) and Brice Buchanan (guitarist of Kitchen's '80s band Loose
Ties). Kitchen himself adds accents on mandolin, autoharp and harmonica in
addition to his fluid acoustic guitar playing.
The Post-American Century features forays into bluegrass ("So Much More to
Home"), gospel ("Rock of Ages") and even pop (a stripped-down cover of Neil
Diamond's "I'm a Believer"), but the heart of Kitchen's songwriting remains the
folk story-song. The album's title comes from "Sequel," an overheard
conversation between two '60s survivors trying to find their place in the confusion
of the new century. Contrasting that is "Perelli's Barbershop," in which a young
boy sneaks a glimpse at his first Playboy. "Tall Against the Wave," narrated by a
Confederate infantryman, reveals the terror and futility of war, while "One by One
(Song for Trayvon Martin)" explores the vestiges of racism in our own time. "Stay
Forever," and its coda, "One More Sunset," confront the specter of loss head on.
The intensity of Kitchen's subjects is balanced by both the sly humor in his lyrics
and the joys of the music itself, from the revival harmonies and dead-on Dobro
licks of "Rock of Ages" to the Knopfler-esque guitar lines that snake through
"Stay Forever." That balance is central to the album's underlying theme - if
indeed we can't stop the years rolling past us, we should at least enjoy them as
they go by.
Terry Kitchen was born in New Jersey, and grew up in Easton, PA on the music
of the 1960s before moving to small town Ohio in the '70s. He attended
Occidental College in LA (with Barack Obama), then moved to Boston where he
played in the '80s rock band Loose Ties (the basis for his novel NEXT BIG THING)
before realizing that acoustic music was the most natural setting for his
distinctive narrative songwriting.
For the past twenty-five years he has performed on the New England and
national folk scenes at clubs and coffeehouses including Club Passim and The
Nameless Coffeehouse in Massachusetts, The Postcrypt Coffeehouse and Cafe
Lena in New York, Godfrey Daniels in PA and The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville,
and at festivals including Falcon Ridge, the South Florida Folk Festival, VT
Solarfest, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He's appeared in 20 states,
including Texas, California and Alaska, and Canada. He's released twelve CDs,
and his songs have appeared in numerous films. His songs have won the Mid-
Atlantic and USA song contests and been runner-up in the John Lennon Song
Contest and been recorded by Barbara Kessler, Mara Levine and Janet Feld.
Terry also leads songwriting workshops and is the NSAI Boston workshop coordinator.
In addition to performing as a solo artist, Terry and New Jersey folksinger
Mara Levine perform as the contemporary folk harmony duo Terry Kitchen & Mara Levine.
They perform an eclectic selection of Terry's songs, songs from Mara's solo recordings,
and songs they love from the folk and folk-rock traditions.
They began performing together in 2008 and released a duo EP in 2012.
They've appeared together at the Minstrel Coffeehouse, Godfrey Daniels,
the People's Voice Cafe, the Borderline Folk Music Club, the Rockwood Music Hall
(as part of John Platt's On Your Radar series), and the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
For more on Terry and Mara, visit terrykitchenmaralevine.com.
Terry Kitchen is a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Touring
Artists Program. The MCC, in partnership with the New England Foundation for
the Arts, makes funds available to organizations that present Touring Artists.
www.creativeground.org for how to apply for funding for a Terry Kitchen performance.