Brian Kalinec

Brian Kalinec

 Houston, Texas, USA
BandAmericanaFolk

Brian Kalinec’s award-winning songwriting combines his East Texas roots & his Houston urban experience for his view of the world. His new CD "The Fence" has charted on radio in the US and Europe and has drawn comparisons to Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, James Taylor, Rodney Crowell, & Jim Croce.

Biography

Brian Kalinec is an award-winning, Houston, Texas-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter. His East Texas roots have combined with his urban experience to form his own particular view of the world, which is reflected in his songs. A native of Beaumont, Brian picked up the guitar at an early age and began a life spent crafting songs and nurturing songwriters. His writing has drawn favorable comparisons to that of Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, Rodney Crowell, James Taylor, and Jim Croce, and it resonates with audiences, fellow songwriters, and music lovers alike.

Over the years, Brian has received significant recognition across the US for both songwriting and musicianship -- winning contests like the Songwriter Serenade in Texas and the Big Top Chautauqua in Wisconsin, and taking second place in the Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition. He recently earned second place honors in the 2012 CT Folk Festival Songwriting Competition and was nominated for the 2013 Texas Music Awards for Singer/Songwriter of the Year for the second time (and previously nominated for TMA Musician of the Year). He was named a finalist in the 2013 UK Songwriting Contest and a southwest regional finalist in the prestigious 2013 Mountain Stage New Song Contest. Brian also was selected as an Official Showcase artist at the 2013 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance & Suzi Wollenberg Folk DJ Showcase artist at the 2013 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference.

He has performed at venerable festivals and venues -- including the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Bugle Boy, and Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse in Texas, and the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Massachusetts. He has recently toured the UK, playing festivals, folk clubs and venues in Scotland, Wales and England. He was very well received, and invited back to play several festivals this year.

Brian's most recent CD, The Fence, charted on radio both in the US and Europe, while his writing and guitar skills have drawn praise from well-known artists and musicians such as Steve Gillette, Steve Weisberg, Tom Pacheco, and Merel Bregante.

A recipient of the My Texan Award at the 2012 Texas Music Awards for his support of the music and musicians of the state, Brian is a past president of the Houston Songwriters Association and has produced a number of projects for other artists in addition to his own CDs. He and wife Pam own Berkalin Records -- a label that also features such well-respected artists as Matt Harlan, Jeff Talmadge, the late Tim Henderson, Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus, Libby Koch and Daniel Boling.

Here's what others say about Brian's music--

"Interesting lyrics, poetic touch and personal reflections combined with a supple musical setting. There is a combination of Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, James Taylor and Rodney Crowell in the stories he tells...Brian is a fine singer - songwriter... he sings with a soft and strong singing voice, a voice that captivates because it has such a strong ability to convey the words, tie them together with music to a functioning whole. He is a brilliant guitar player...the combination of fine thoughtful lyrics, strong melodies and a clever musical cast make "The Fence" a strong album..."The Fence" takes its well-deserved place on the Euro Americana Chart..."--STAFFAN SOLDING, Rootsy (Sweden)

'The Fence' ... is a very good CD from a real troubadour, a man who knows how to pen a good song... Brian has a nice voice, very in tune with his songs. The guidance is an important role for fiddler Jeff Duncan, percussionist Merel Bregante (late 70's was part of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), bassist Rankin Peters and multi-instrumentalist Patterson Barrett (mandolin, dobro, pedal steel). We also hear cello, trumpet, piano and synthesizer and a host of harmony vocalists. The music is folk, country, bluegrass and blues, a nice Americana mix accordingly....Kalinec's 'The Fence' is a true singer-songwriter hit. Jewels of songs, texts that matter, beautifully played by a bunch of outstanding Texans, produced by Kalinec himself. Take a listen and you're sold.--FRED SCHMALE, Real Roots Cafe (Netherlands)

The new Americana/Roots album released from Berkalin Records featuring Brian Kalinec is making radio djs turn up their studio headsets. Brian Kalinec is one of the most creative songwriters from the Texas music scene we have heard this year at Roots Music Report. All 12 tracks on his new album The Fence are simply wonderful to listen to. There is something special about listening to songs by a singer of this caliber that seem to invite the listener into the private life and thoughts of the songs creator Brian Kalinec. You can actually become part of these songs if you close your eyes and let Brian lead you on a wonderful melodic trip of your own. Good music is something to be revered and this new album is one that is. Yes I must say Revered says it all. ROBERT BARTOSH, Roots Music Report (US)

Lyrics

The Fence

Written By: Brian J. Kalinec

Verse:
Like raindrops sifting slowly through the window screen
The minutes drip their torture on this August afternoon
My fingers flip the moisture off the canvas of my canteen
Though I wipe my brow the sweat returns too soon.

Verse:
Thirty-odd more holes I’ll dig before the sunlight fades
Three strands of new barbed wire lay coiled upon the ground
Waiting to be stretched and tacked to the cedar posts I made
From two trees that lightning struck and last Tuesday I cut down.

Chorus:
Well there’s a joy in every task I finish well
True satisfaction hidden in my stoic countenance
A certain rugged pleasure that no one else could tell
I build a bit of me every time I build a fence.

Verse:
A hundred head or so will graze in this pasture when it’s fenced
All this effort will be worth it in a week or two.
There’ll be no celebration, no cheering will commence
‘Cause cattle could care less about the work you do.

Chorus:
But there’s a joy in every task I finish well
True satisfaction hidden in my stoic countenance
A certain rugged pleasure that no one else could tell
I build a bit of me every time I build a fence.

Verse:
What some call “solitary”, I call “peace of mind”
The simplest existence just works best for me
Though I’ll drink a beer with buddies at that bar on 59
I truly crave this natural comradere.

Chorus:
‘Cause there’s a joy in every task I finish well
True satisfaction hidden in my stoic countenance
A certain rugged pleasure that no one else could tell
I build a bit of me every time I build a fence.

Nowhere at All

Written By: Brian J. Kalinec

I know my way around
I know every nook and cranny of this town
Walked down these streets before
Probably knocked on every door

It’s hard to know what matters most
When the dream you chase is just a ghost
Sometimes you have to go back home
To find the you you used to know.

But what would you do if that leaf didn’t fall
If the hands never spun on that clock on the wall
Where would you be if time suddenly stalled
You’d be nowhere at all.

Left when I was twenty-one
Tied my shoestrings on the run
Full of passion and self-doubt
But I thought I had it figured out.

Life struck swiftly with a blow
Buckled my knees into a fold
But it was just a minor scrape
Stood up and walked another way.

But what would you do if that leaf didn’t fall
If the hands never spun on that clock on the wall
Where would you be if time suddenly stalled
You’d be nowhere at all.

Had to complicate my life
To appreciate simplicity.
So I’ll unfold my pocket knife
To cut away what I don’t need

The years I squandered on success
Paved the path to my excess
But I kept a silent score in mind,
It’s not what you lose, but what you find

But what would you do if that leaf didn’t fall
If the hands never spun on that clock on the wall
Where would you be if time suddenly stalled
You’d be nowhere at all.

I Don't Know

Written By: Brian J. Kalinec

I don’t know why the wall fell down
Maybe it was built too high
I don’t know why the leaves turn brown
But even evergreens eventually die.

There’s a constant motion in this world
The changes blind our eyes.
Rocks erode to make the soil
We till until our well runs dry.

I don’t know why the forest burns
But the trees regrow to reach the sky.
I don’t know why the river floods
But rich the earth it leaves behind.

There’s a constant motion in this world
The changes blind our eyes.
Rocks erode to make the soil
We till until our well runs dry.

I don’t know much, but I love your touch.
It’s the one thing I crave that’s constant enough.

Break

I don’t know why rain falls down
But to quench the earth that’s parched and dry.
I don’t know why the river floods
But rich the earth it leaves behind.

There’s a constant motion in this world
The changes blind our eyes.
Rocks erode to make the soil
We till until our well runs dry.
We till until our well runs dry.

Lone Star Lonely

Written By: Brian J Kalinec

Verse:
There’s a mint on her pillow
Her bed’s been turned down
She’s ready to turn in
She’s finally unwound
From her day full of meetings
And her night on the town
She’s finally arrived
But no one’s around

Chorus:
She’s Lone Star lonely
In a five-star hotel
What she really needs
No one can sell
She draws the curtains
On those New York night skies
And she softly wipes
The tears from her eyes

Verse:
There’s a guy back in Houston
Who waits patiently
He’s always known
What she wouldn’t see
But he’s growing tired
Of loving for two
While she brokers a merger
In some room with a view.

Chorus:
But she’s Lone Star lonely
In a five-star hotel
What she really needs
No one can sell
She draws the curtains
On those New York night skies
And she softly wipes
The tears from her eyes

Break:

Verse:
Her business trip’s done
As the plane touches down
She’s ready to get home
She’s finally unwound
From her days full of meetings
And her nights on the town
But there’s a note on her pillow
And no one’s around.

Chorus:
She’s Lone Star lonely
Her heart just fell
She knows she needs him
But he’s wished her well
She draws the curtains
On those Houston night skies
And she softly wipes
The tears from her eyes

Blessings of this Day

Written By: Brian J Kalinec

Blessings of this Day
c. Brian Kalinec

Another famine, a different war
We wear all of these disasters on our sleeves
As we collect our battle scars
Do we spend a lot more time down on our knees?

Could it be fact or merely fiction?
Should we believe some ancient Mayan priest's prediction?
Who's to prove it anyway?
Let's just embrace the blessings of this day.

A drowning flood, a raging fire...
Have we broken past the flexure in this bend?
Have we provoked some divine ire
To the point where our existence is finally at an end?

Could it be fact or merely fiction?
Should we believe some ancient Mayan priest's prediction?
Who's to prove it anyway?
Let's just embrace the blessings of this day.

I'm ok with all those mysteries that I can't understand
I'm fine with knowing that I wasn't clued into the plan.

Must we seek those perfect answers
To find comfort in our insecurity
Or take that leap like daring dancers
To find the kind of faith we truly seek?

Could it be fact or merely fiction?
Should we believe some ancient Mayan priest's prediction?
Who's to prove it anyway?
Let's just embrace the blessings of this day.

Stranger in this Line

Written By: Brian J Kalinec

Stranger in this Line
c. Brian J. Kalinec

I’m a stranger in this line
Just waiting to be counted
It’s a bit cold and rainy for October.
Well I’m not the type to whine
I’m just wanting to be wanted
Hoping this depression soon blows over.

Hunger’s not a calling, it’s a curse.
Here in this land of plenty there are plenty out of work.

I’m not happy to be here
I’d rather work for daily wages
But no warehouse seems to need an old blue collar.
And there are many more I fear
Who’ll never hold a hand of aces
And never even have the chance to stretch the dollar.

I have to separate desire from my needs
But suffering’s not so silent with two young mouths to feed.

I move up in this line
And I slowly count the paces
As the final corner I am rounding.
In this hardscrabble crowd I find
True despair on leathered faces
I realize I have some blessings to be counting.

Soon I’ll pick up my food and head on home
But many of my brothers here have no place to go.

I try to always seek the light
Even if it’s a reflection
Though every now and then I’m prone to falter
Once my pride has taken flight
And I dream in a fresh direction
I’ll run like some young colt without a halter.

Life can’t be just waiting ‘til you die
I’ll inch ahead in this long line and hope that hope won’t pass me by.

Carla Moore

Written By: Brian J Kalinec

Carla Moore
c. Brian J. Kalinec

Verse:
Carla Moore still sees herself
On that road in West Columbia
She never meant to drive that car
But Grady told her to.
His nerves crackled like a grassfire
With his gun aimed at the store clerk
Triggers can be tricky things
If one accidently moves.

Verse:
Once a life is taken
There can be no erasure
What’s gone is gone
Forever from our view.
She still weeps for that clerks wife and kids
And all the living that they lost
But on that dreadful night Carla’s life
As she knew it ended, too.

Chorus:
Lives and years and trails of tears
Seem to disappear with haste
They evaporate like drops of rain
On the hot tar of the street.
We say goodbye to foolish fears
And greet new days to waste.
Wisdom’s not a favorite friend to meet.
Wisdom’s not a favorite friend to meet.

Break:

Verse:
Straight and narrow are the spaces
Between the bars that hold her there.
But that message just escapes her
As she paces in that cell.
No need to count the days she faces
‘Cause none of them seem fair.
One can’t measure years that time
Can’t even tell.

Verse:
She still thinks of Grady
And that road in West Columbia
She wonders now ever how
She could so misplace her trust
In a third-string high school running back
She was so attracted to.
Now Carla’s just a bit ashamed
She still feels a trace of lust.

Chorus:
Lives and years and trails of tears
Seem to disappear with haste
They evaporate like drops of rain
On the hot tar of the street.
We say goodbye to foolish fears
And greet new days to waste.
Wisdom’s not a favorite friend to meet.
Wisdom’s not a favorite friend to meet.

River of Doubt

Written By: Brian J Kalinec

River of Doubt
c. Brian J. Kalinec

River of doubt, winding through shadows
Where these waters lead, no one can tell
Though each twisted turn unveils some new mystery
Just carry me home to my precious Belle.

I must take leave from the love of my lifetime
My father’s call is too strong to resist
His powerful passion pulls like a magnet
But he needs me more than he’ll ever admit

I yearn to uncover the jungle’s dark secrets
I’m a man on a mission, and I’ve bet with my life.
But I’m a man of my word, I make this promise,
I will return to make Belle my wife.

River of doubt, winding through shadows
Where these waters lead, no one can tell
Though each twisted turn unveils some new mystery
Just carry me home to my precious Belle.

How long will I pay for the whims of my father
His change in direction is a dangerous move
His chest full of medals, and the seal of the eagle
Are just not enough when there’s still something to prove.

But a big stick’s no match for the jungle’s cruel grandeur
When you’re underprepared for the river’s rough ride.
The dark forest branches hinder clear judgment
When the fire of adventure is burning inside.

River of doubt, winding through shadows
Where these waters lead, no one can tell
Though each twisted turn unveils some new mystery
Just carry me home to my precious Belle.

I must confess I am not blameless
My reckless decision costs another his life,
In our dire quest to save a boat of provisions
The swirl of the rapids extracts too high a price.

River of doubt, winding through shadows
Where these waters lead, no one can tell
Though each twisted turn unveils some new mystery
Just carry me home to my precious Belle.

These hard months place health on a hingeline
Once that door closes it’s hard to unlock
When a mighty man falls to the bite of an insect
His demise would most surely leave the whole world in shock

My father’s sickness is my price for redemption
I carry him miles through rapids and brush
I save his body, as he rescues my spirit
That not long ago was easily crushed.

River of doubt, winding through shadows
Where these waters lead, no one can tell
Though each twisted turn unveils some new mystery
Just carry me home to my precious Belle.

I’m nearly home to my precious Belle.

Creosote

Written By: Brian J Kalinec

He carved an “x”
On a telephone pole
Thought he’d make his mark
Before the night grew cold
A fair bit of livin’
Makes a body old
But another day done
Is one less to go.

With that cold steel blade
Stained with creosote
He cuts his bread
On a stump of oak
He hauls his life
In a tattered tote
Stores his supper
In the pockets of his frayin’ coat.

He's not seekin’ earthly immortality
That doesn’t register at all
He scatters careless scraps of anonymity
It’s just a crapshoot where they fall.

Climbed the fence at the yacht club
The rich man’s moat
Slipped aboard
Some rich man’s boat
He danced a jig on the deck
As he waved his coat
Slipped and fell in the river
And that was all she wrote.

No one’s cryin’
Over wet creosote
It doesn’t take much dyin’
To make a body float.

Paint

Written By: Brian Kalinec and Connie Mims

Paint
(Brian Kalinec/Connie Mims)

These four walls have seen better days
It’s time they wore a different color
I’ve taped the trim, put a drop cloth down
Poured paint into the pan and wet the roller
I took down all those pictures of you
The last bit of space you took up in this room
I’m gonna try to cover up your memory with a little paint

I’m gonna paint these walls in a pearly white
Or maybe yellow as sun, some kind of healing light
I need a change of view so I’m gonna paint ‘em bright
I’m tired of living with this lonely shade of blue
A little paint might get me over you

I could patch these holes the pictures left behind
Another coat might make it warmer
But can I fill this space you left here in my heart?
Don’t want to paint myself into a corner

I’m gonna paint these walls in a pearly white
Or maybe yellow as sun, some kind of healing light
I need a change of view so I’m gonna paint ‘em bright
I’m tired of living with this lonely shade of blue
A little paint might get me over you

I’ll choose a brand new color
I’ll use a brand new brush
Thought I’d miss you more
But I don’t miss you much

I’m gonna paint these walls in a pearly white
Or maybe yellow as sun, some kind of healing light
I need a change of view so I’m gonna paint ‘em bright
I’m tired of living with this lonely shade of blue
A little paint might get me over you

Discography

"Last Man Standing" Berkalin Records, 2007
"The Fence" Berkalin Records 2012