The Reinvention of Kaki King – Echoes Podcast

Hear the Podcast of Kaki King’s Echoes Interview

Kaki King in Echoes BLack Box

Kaki King in Echoes BLack Box

There’s little doubt that Kaki King has been the most high profile acoustic guitar player of the last decade.  Since her 2003 debut she’s recorded several albums, collaborated with musicians like The Goo Goo Dolls, scored films like Into the Wild with Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook and generally left most musicians gasping for breath in her wake.  She recently released her album Glow, and it’s yet another new direction for the peripatetic guitarist.

Kaki King has been in a buoyant mood lately.  The beyond petite guitarist smiles gently with her boyish brown haircut, holding her Ovation guitar. She’s had one of those life changes that seem pretty good.

“Yeah, I got married,” she reveals. “I met her after same sex marriage was legal in New York State.  And it changed a lot of things for me.  It  changed what I was looking for and what I thought was possible for me as far as stability and making, and protecting a family, and a lot of things.  And I didn’t know that would happen.  And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

617-AkrLI0L._SL500_AA300_You might be able to hear that change on Kaki King’s Glow.

“I was engaged when I made Glow and I didn’t know what stability would do for me because I was thriving on chaos for years and years,” she says.  “And I wrote a lot of songs.  And I didn’t know what would happen and it turns out that I’m doing even better work.”

Kaki King has come a long way since she was playing in New York City Subways.

“I miss playing in the subways,” she says wistfully.  “It’s been too long, about five years.”

Since her 2003 solo debut, Everybody Loves You, she’s rejected the roll of solo fingerstyle guitarist.  She played with her sound, adding vocals here, different musicians there.  Her experiments culminated in her 2010 album, Junior, made with a full rock band and often raging distortion.

“Sure I mean they’ve all been kind of sharp changes in direction,” she says.  “This record for me was partially about reconnecting with being a solo acoustic player and again, trying to push the envelope and see what was possible.”

There was a point where Kaki King was contemplating divorce.  Not from her new spouse, but from her guitar.

“It’s like being with a partner, I mean, for 29 years at this point,” she confesses.  “I played guitar and I was just evaluating my marriage to it.  I didn’t want to play.  That’s the truth; I just didn’t want to pick it up.  I just didn’t have that feeling anymore.  And I had to reestablish my relationship with it.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“I played,” she quickly responds.  “I forced myself.  I went on tour with a bunch of weird guitarists.  We did this “Guitar Freak Show”, so I created an environment in which if I wanted to, if we wanted to reconcile we could.  And it worked and I do love playing guitar.  I love it.”

Hear more of Kaki King’s interview including talking about her koto guitar and playing with the string quartet, Ethel, in the Echoes Podcast.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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