Barbara Kessler
Gig Seeker Pro

Barbara Kessler

Hopkinton, Massachusetts, United States

Hopkinton, Massachusetts, United States
Band Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Best Album by any contemporary singer-songwriter in years..."

“It’s not the hooks, the Froom-like production, or even the songs
that make this album one of the best by any contemporary
singer/songwriter in years. What puts her over the top is her voice, a smoothly subtle and sometimes
jazzy, versatile soprano full of surprises.” The Boston Phoenix - Boston Phoenix

"BK a lyricist of uncommon economy and grace"

"Barbara Kessler is a lyricist of uncommon economy and grace.” “Kessler's original songs and strong
vocals make for a splendid listening adventure. Kessler’s engaging lyrics give you interesting characters
with emotions that hit home." - Dirty Linen

"One of today's great unsung talents"

“She delicately weaves a forceful spell with just a guitar and that remarkable voice - not an easy accomplishment.
Kessler establishes herself as one of today's great unsung talents. She won't go unrecognized much longer.” - CMJ New Music Report

"Fine line between folk and rock"

“There's a fine line dividing folk and rock, and Kessler's music rests solidly upon it. She's often regarded as an acoustic singer-songwriter, but the title is slightly misleading... [notion] is closer to
rock n' roll than most folkies dare to with tasty rhythms, groove-oriented guitar patterns
and a carefully planned mix of instruments.”
- The Boston Globe


See Bio



A Long Island, NY native, Barbara Kessler discovered the esteemed Boston music scene in the late ’80’s while working for the summer on Cape Cod driving an ice cream truck and performing covers at bars. She took her first originals to the Boston-area open mikes which led immediately to her first bookings. She entered Rounder's first and only Songwriter's Contest at Great Woods Performing Arts Center (1st runner up!) and met judge Christine Lavin who invited her to stop by the first Martha's Vineyard Songwriter's Retreat. Here one of her earliest songs, "The Date" was recorded at an open mike and selected for the Rounder Records release documenting the retreat, Big Times in a Small Town. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response and national airplay the song received, BK recorded her first CD Stranger To This Land and starting playing coffeehouses and colleges around the country.
Recorded live at the intimate Kendall Cafe (BK's first performance with a band!), Stranger
brought Kessler national attention and acclaim, including a Boston Music Award for
Outstanding Debut. The album was picked up by Eastern Front Records and was spun on
hundreds of stations across the U.S. and Canada, was picked as one of Performing
Songwriter's top 12 DIY releases, and landed her appearances on Mountain Stage, Acoustic
Cafe, and WFUV's Required Listening at The Bottom Line. One of the cuts, “Kathy,” was
selected for a Time-Warner artist compilation callled Grooves Magazine which also featured
Matthew Sweet, Linda Ronstadt, John Lee Hooker, Jeff Buckley and others. “Songs like
‘Kathy’ showcase Kessler’s flair for poignant detail and understatement, qualities that lend her
tales of ordinary folks their extraordinary emotional weight.” Vin Scelsa, WNEW -NY “Her
strength lies in understatement and a blessed aversion to preaching...Many try, but few succeed like Kessler."
Providence Phoenix "Barbara Kessler is a lyricist of uncommon economy and grace.” Dirty Linen
She recorded her follow-up studio album with Jerry Marotta producing after he heard her band one night at CB's Gallery in New York, where he was playing with Dan Zanes. A fan of Marotta's drumming and percussion with Peter Gabriel (and countless other artists), Kessler jumped at the chance to record her songs with world-class musicians along with her own backing band. The resulting CD, notion,
furthered her reputation with critics and audiences, and yielded the haunting title track, which
was chosen for Putumayo’s classic 1996 compilation Women’s Work. The arrangements
“refuse to lurk in the background” says The Washington Post. “Fortunately Kessler’s words
and music are tough enough to hold their own.” “Now we have the follow-up studio album to
her acclaimed Stranger To This Land to satisfy our insatiable appetites. Notion is a wonderful
collection of songs that is brimming with stellar musicianship. Songs like ‘That Hurricane,’
‘Sister Mary Madeline,’ ‘Big Sky’and the title track are simply brilliant.“The Album Network ‘At
My Age’ is a brilliant song.” Sing out! Magazine “It’s not the hooks, the Froom-like production,
or even the songs that make this album one of the best by any contemporary
singer/songwriter in years. What puts her over the top is her voice, a smoothly subtle and
sometimes jazzy, versatile soprano full of surprises.” The Boston Phoenix
Kessler’s third album, Barbara Kessler, iwas released in August 2000 after a
four-year hiatus during which she gave birth to her daughter Emilia. Produced by
Boston guitarist Adam Steinberg (Patty Griffin, Dixie Chicks, Laurie Sargent) with the
intention of creating live-feeling, timeless song settings, the recording perfectly captures Kessler’s voice and energy and talent for performance. Arrangements range from spare and haunting to full on pop-rock, letting each of the tightly crafted songs “do
their own thing.” The tracks "Bridge Mix" and Soundtrack have been featured frequently on daytime and primetime national TV.
"On her pop-catchy, folk-smart new CD, she
wanders between intimate reflection and wry, girlish reminiscence, sung in an airy
voice brimming with personality." The Boston Globe
Barbara Kessler’s songs have appeared on nearly a dozen compilations, including Rounder’s Follow That Road,
Black Wolf’s This is Boston Not Austin, and Signature Sounds' Respond. She recently produced a benefit
compilation CD featuring singer-songwriter moms called Hope: Mothers Helping Mothers that includes Tish
Hinojosa, Sara Hickman, Suzzy Roche, Lori McKenna, Ashley Cleveland and others. She has been selected for
official showcases at the North American Folk Alliance and NxNE conferences in Toronto, Canadian Music Week, CMJ New Music Marathon in New York, NEMO in Boston, and the Atlantis Music Conference in Atlanta and has won songwriting awards at Kerrville, Telluride, Rocky Mountain Folks, and from the National Academy of Songwriters.