Kevin Slick has been playing music professionally, in many different ways, for four decades, the latter two of those being primarily within the Americana/folk/bluegrass fold. He also expresses his creativity as a visual artist. He remembers a very specific date that set his trajectory on being a musician: “I like to tell people that I became a musician on February 9, 1964, when I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was five years old … That’s when I realized ‘That’s what I’m gonna do.’”
After picking up the guitar at age 12 or 13, and coming up with his own songs, Kevin cites the advent of home multitrack recording in the 1980s, with gear from companies like Tascam, as a formative moment. “Suddenly it was possible for someone like myself to—with not a lot of investment in terms of equipment—make recordings. That coincided wonderfully with the emergence of the cassette as kind of the dominant music format …[I] could make a recording of original songs … and create a cassette that you could sell in a store.”
Originally drawn to acoustic greats like Bob Dylan, Kevin later played in rock bands. Most recently however he has returned to the acoustic-oriented environs of folk and bluegrass. He notes, on a practical level, instead of a lugging pile of different guitars and amps to gigs, “Now I mostly just carry a mandolin.”
His latest project is with the band, Orchard Creek. In 2019 he joined the quartet to make it a quintet, adding his voice, mandolin and songwriting to the group. The album is called Listening for Your Call, due out in September 2023.
The group’s first full-length album features equal amounts of material from the band’s four songwriters. “We did a fairly democratic setup…We said ‘Let’s put 12 songs on this album; everyone gets three picks.” The title song originated from the last phone call Kevin Slick had with his father. Mike Mitchell helped craft the song, weaving family traditions, favorite songs, stories and places into the lyrics.
To find out more, visit www.kevinslick.com. Listen to the full interview here.
Written by Dan Walsh