Everybody Loves You
Thumping bass lines, tapping melodies, and slapping percussion on her guitar, Kaki King is a one-woman force sent to wreak acoustic havoc. At 24, she is already a riveting performer, combining jaw-dropping technique with unique compositions. Though her style and tunings are suggestive of Michael Hedges, Kaki is more about the L train to Williamsburg than placid landscapes. Her playing has a passion and an edge that keeps her tenuously balanced, one foot in the acoustic world, the other in rock'n'roll.
Kaki began classical guitar lessons at age five, but like all sensible children, thought the instrument was a waste of time. Her interest was revived a decade later when she discovered her father's solo guitar record collection. Using intricate tunings and neck tapping, Kaki became focused on writing instrumental music. In 1999, Kaki moved up to New York to attend NYU, and emerged three years later with a humanities degree that allowed her to complete only the feeblest of crossword puzzles. "I want to be either a vagabond street performer or a sassy bar rat," she told a professor inquiring about her future plans, to which the professor replied, "With your handsome looks and ragamuffin charm, I'm sure you'll be able to do both." And so she did, honing her guitar skills in the New York subways in the daytime and pulling beer at a rock club at night.
In 2002, Kaki recorded a collection of songs she had written during her college years. Released in April 2003, EVERYBODY LOVES YOU (Velour), is a beautiful and varied collection of new and old Kaki originals. Kaki describes it as "A compilation of different musical thoughts I had while trying to mess up everyone's idea of how the guitar is played." From the virtuosic, pulsing rhythms of "Kewpie Station" to the ethereal, timeless beauty of "Night After Sidewalk" to the dynamic passion of "Joi," Kaki proves herself to be as expressive and diverse as any acoustic instrumentalist of any age. For those still wanting to learn more, the CD also features a four-minute video, numerous photographs and three bonus tracks accessible through a computer.
Kaki hit the road in 2003 traveling from coast to coast opening for the likes of Mike Gordon, Soulive, Robert Randolph, Tony Levin, Charlie Hunter, Susan Tedeschi, Tim Reynolds, Victor Wooten and others. She played numerous large outdoor festivals including Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, High Sierra Music Fest, Berkfest and the Winnipeg Folk Fest. In June, Kaki was featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" and in October she was the featured performer on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (incredibly rare for a solo instrumentalist).