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Guitar Virtuoso Sought Change On New Album

Of the Oakland Press

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After establishing herself as a solo acoustic guitar virtuoso on her first two albums, Kaki King has changed course on the new “... Until We Felt Red,” adding more instruments (pedal steel, lap steel, electric guitar) and even singing.

“I think I’d made my mark and hit a glass ceiling,” says King, 27, whose previous work was feted by NPR and even landed her on “Late Night with David Letterman.” “Everything that could have happened happened, things no one ever would imagine — late night television, magazine covers, touring nationally. It was very out of left fi eld for someone playing solo acoustic guitar.

“But I didn’t have it in me to do another solo guitar record. I just wasn’t as excited. I knew if I wanted to preserve my relationship with the guitar, I would have to channel what I was hearing into a different idiom.”

The biggest stretch for King — who’s headlining this year’s Yellow Umbrella tour for cervical cancer awareness — was singing, though she claims that she “just opened her mouth” on certain songs from the new album. Nevertheless, incorporating vocals was also part of the changing musical landscape she desired.

“Almost every single track on the album started as a solo guitar piece,” she says. “But instead of embellishing them with an A section, a B section, C, D, on and on, I simply loved the stupid, sweet, threenote melody and started to sing where I felt it fi t best.”

The Yellow Umbrella Tour, featuring Kaki King, plays at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (October 15th) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit

Web Site: www.theark.org

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