The Galen Kipar Project
Gig Seeker Pro

The Galen Kipar Project

Band Folk Blues


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



"Masters of Melody"

Masters of Melody: Asheville’s Galen Kipar Project Plays Canyons
The music created by Asheville’s Galen Kipar Project, sometimes grand in scope and melodically adventurous at every turn, conjures all sorts of descriptive terms, none of which seems terribly helpful to the listener in putting a fine point on exactly what to call them. It might be helpful to note that a handful of the group’s biggest influences include Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell.

On Friday, October 10, the Galen Kipar Project will return to the High Country for a show at Canyons in Blowing Rock. Admission is free and the show will start at 9:00 p.m.

A native of Augusta, Ga., Kipar honed his songwriting chops during a two-year stint as host of a popular weekly singer-songwriter night before moving to Brevard. There, he returned to school, majoring in music with an emphasis on composition.

“It was a good way to learn a lot of songwriting tools,” said Kipar.

Since graduating, Kipar has been putting those tools to good use, releasing three albums with fellow project members Jon Morrow and Jeremy Young. The discs chart the band’s sonic evolution and musical chemistry through Kipar’s growing number of classical, jazz, blues, folk and world music sounds.

“The nature of music is to evolve, kind of like a language,” said Kipar.

The language spoken by the Galen Kipar Project is based in the acoustic roots and classical music sounds, but seeks to create a new experience for the listener by fluidly combining those elements in an expanded, melodically rich sonic vernacular.

“I try and conduct practices and oversee the material and get a certain sound from the other members,” said Kipar, adding he tries to leave Morrow and Young plenty of room to add their own distinct flavor.

Not content to simply retread the sounds of his influences, Kipar and company are frequently augmented by female vocals, double bass, cello, violin, mandolin, tuba, trumpet, piano and B3 organ, allowing the trio more sonic colors with which to create. Kipar’s unique tenor is equally effective soaring atop the sonic slipstream or quietly working alongside the gentle tug of the other instruments.

On Paper Sailer, the band’s latest release, Kipar, Morrow and Young decided to record on analog tape for a warmer sound and relied on spur-of-the-moment improvisation instead of over-rehearsing the songs. Referring to himself as a process nerd, Kipar decided to let the tape roll, trusting that the results would prove more interesting.

“The goal was to achieve more with less. It forces the musician to listen and react,” said Kipar. “It was just kind of a different angle of attack on the process.”

Since the release of Paper Sailer earlier this year, Kipar’s star has been on the rise in his adopted home of Asheville and around the region. Although the group has toured across the country, the trio is beginning to play better venues in their hometown and build their reputation throughout the region as a stellar live act. The band’s music is also regularly featured on WNCW.

“I think it’s been a good thing. We’ve had a much better turnout this year and are working our way into better venues,” said Kipar. “You just put it out there and hope for the best.” - High Country Press, David Brewer - Blowing Rock NC

"the Galen Kipar Project releases new CD, plays Grey Eagle"

Galen Kipar has been busy creating music over the past few years, which is one of the qualities that has helped make him a fixture on the Asheville music scene since his move to the city. He’s releasing his third album, in as many years, this month with a CD release show at the Grey Eagle on Thursday.

Musical past
Originally from Augusta, Ga., Kipar moved to the area seven or eight years ago. He studied music with an emphasis on composition at Brevard College, while also studying composition under Paul Elwood. He’s been in Asheville for the last three years, while also playing venues throughout the Southeast.

The new album
The new record has had a relatively quick turnaround. Songs were written between November and January, and recording took place in February. Now, in May, “Paper Sailer” is ready to be released to the masses.

Kipar was quick to say that “Paper Sailer” and “Between retreat & return” are his two favorite songs on the record. He describes the first two tracks of the new album as being “more classically formed or phrased.” Not to worry, though. You’ll get a variety of songs on the new album. “There are a couple of tunes that are a little more straight ahead, so it has a little bit of everything.,” said Kipar, when talking about the record.

Kipar, who also works as a fly-fishing guide and in other trades, has spent a lot of time in the water. So, it isn’t surprising that his latest music is inspired by water. “I spent a lot of time standing in the water this year, and that’s where a lot of the ideas, at least the lyrical ideas, came from. The music is sort of a different thing. Lyrically, there is some stuff about politics, and the less is more sort of approach.”

The Project
The Galen Kipar Project has grown over the years to include two musicians in addition to Kipar, along with many frequent guests. Kipar plays the guitar and harmonica, as well as taking over vocals and the composition. You’ll find Jeremy Young on percussion and drums and John Morrow on guitar. At Thursday’s show, Camilla Delk will join the project on viola and Aaron Ballance will perform on the steel guitar. - Citizen Times, Asheville NC

"All the clutter is gone"

The Galen Kipar Project explores greater depth with simpler tools
by David Cole in Vol. 14 / Iss. 42 on 05/14/2008

Small-scale symphony: The Galen Kipar Project brings big ideas into simple songs.

Most musicians, when initially taking up their primary instrument of choice, are drawn to some romantic notion that the object invokes. The guitar, for instance, is generally viewed as modern music’s iconic and defining instrument. But for Galen Kipar, however, it was just a tool to achieve a grander vision.

“Composition was always the biggest thing for me,” recalls Kipar. “The guitar was just the instrument that was there, sort of a means to that end.”

As soon as the young Kipar could play chords well and make smooth transitions between them, he began trying to add more. Writing and incorporating parts for vocals and harmonica, he soon achieved a level of proficiency in all three. For the next decade, Kipar would hone this skill, crafting honest, accessible music that manages to explore unexpected sonic textures and thematic directions.

Kipar’s first forays into live music were in his hometown of Augusta, Ga., where he was a regular on the local-music scene and helped to create events like the Greater Augusta Songwriter series. In 2001, Kipar left Augusta to attend Brevard College, an experience that caused him to re-examine his musical direction.

“It was when I went back to school that I learned how much it was that I really didn’t know,” Kipar admits. “Before I went back to school, the songs I wrote were still the standard verse-chorus-verse. Since then it’s evolved into something more complex.”

With a firm understanding of folk songcraft already in place, he began to incorporate those “more complex” elements into his music. In his 2006 solo album, Change, hints of jazz, soul, world music and 20th-century classical were already becoming commonplace. He soon formed a band, the Galen Kipar Project, which released its debut, Why It’s Needed, in 2007. That album presented his music on an entirely new scale, with lush instrumentation complementing an unexpectedly soulful collection of songs. But, it was also an understandably complicated undertaking, and for his next recording project Kipar opted for something more intimate.

The result is Paper Sailer, a project Kipar says he approached quite differently from his previous recordings. Backed by violist Camilla Delk and Dobro player Aaron Ballance, the album shies away from studio trickery and postproduction (except for a handful of tastefully executed overdubs), instead focusing on the performance.

“The lineup for this album is just the acoustic trio,” Kipar says. “We recorded a live set with the three of us straight to a reel-to-reel tape. The live set never even touched a computer at all.”

The simple combination of classical guitar, viola and Dobro—as well as Delk’s occasional accompanying vocals—is remarkably effective, giving the recording a simple, almost elegant feel.

“We were intentionally going for less-is-more,” Kipar says. In a way, the album’s recording echoes Kipars’ lyrics in the song “Still Time,” and in particular, this line: “All the clutter is gone and I am glad.”

If there is a central theme to Paper Sailer, it is water. Not in the maritime sense—although Kipar does admit to spending “a lot of time on the water” during the album’s writing last winter—but more in the sense of free-flowing fluid motion.

“For me, musical composition is the study of movement, and the movement of water is ultimate freedom,” Kipar explains. “It’s bound by nothing but gravity and the presence of land. Not much else.”

By extension, the titular sailer (used in the sense of a thing that sails, rather than a person who works on a boat) seems to be a metaphor for anything brave and fragile on that boundless sea of possibility. (Or maybe it just sounds nice.)

The group will be taking their own voyage soon, touring regionally in support of the album’s release. Although the trio of Kipar, Delk and Ballance will be at the core of each performance, Kipar expects that the shows will regularly feature guest performers, potentially filling out the lineup significantly.

“If folks come to the shows and we can afford to keep everyone paid, then hopefully we’ll be able to keep more people on.” As to the high volume of his musical output—three full-length albums in as many years—Kipar quips, “Well I’ve tried to crank them out since I’m done with school. That way I don’t feel so bad about my student loan.”

[David Cole is a freelance writer based in Asheville.]

who: Galen Kipar Project, with Nikki Talley, Ian Thomas and “nude” performance art by Sara Bailey
what: CD-release party for Paper Sailer
where: Grey Eagle
when: Thursday, May 15. 8:30 p.m - Mountain Xpress

"The Asheville Music Scene"

Please go to the following URL to view article: - Asheville Magazine, the Laurel of Asheville

"A prodigal son returns"

Copyright ©
Portico Publications, LTD

Archive > 2005 > September 1-7
A prodigal son's return | Andy Stokes

When Galen Kipar crosses the Richmond County line on his way back into town this weekend, he’ll be in possession of three things he didn’t have when he left: a college degree, a backing band and a slightly restructured outlook on music. Kipar, who most Augustans will remember as the co-catalyst in a songwriter’s series that ran at the Metro Coffeehouse in 2000, left for Ashville, N.C.’s Brevard College shortly thereafter. He’s been there since.

While away, Kipar has constructed an impressive musical résumé. On top of the acquisition of a talented backing band and the regional touring he has been circuiting through, he’s now a Brevard graduate with a degree in music composition. But that’s merely a formality for what’s been obvious all along.

From his home in Asheville, Kipar spoke at length with the Metro Spirit about changes, constancies and everything in between.

ANDY STOKES: I keep thinking Dylan, Newport ’65, when he plugged up with the Butterfield Blues Band. Does his progression have any bearing on you and the way you’ve gone from a solo performer to a band member? Does the solo thing still have a presence?

GALEN KIPAR: They’re both a feeling. It’s just like classical versus folk music. They’re both so appealing. That’s all I’m trying to do — anything and everything and as much as I can of them. I couldn’t say I compare it to Dylan, though.

AS: Do you feel vastly different from your days as a solo artist? Do the songs call for a band, not a solo performance?

GK: I think that some of them do. I think when any writer sits down, they have something that comes in their head, and there’s always something besides themselves, whether they picture this big orchestra in there or whatever.

AS: I think we can just call it natural progression, the order of things. It’s all experience-based, anyway. Your hometown’s different, so your music has a right to shift if that’s what you’re feeling.

GK: I wouldn’t say that (my music) has changed in any grand way. All of the things that inspire me originally are there in new ways and new forms.

I’ve met up with several close friends when I moved up here and have been playing with them ever since. When you talk about experiences, that’s really the only thing that comes to mind. It’s been excellent fuel. More than anything, I think it’s the change of atmosphere and getting out of your comfort zone and putting yourself in a place that forces you to reflect — that’s the fuel that any writer is looking for.

AS: Routine is our enemy.

GK: Yeah, it so is. It wears away on you.

But I feel like if you have the faith, and you put the energy out there, then things will come back.

Galen Kipar and Island Ford performs at the Stillwater Tap Room on Friday, Sept. 2.

Back to Archive > 2005 > September 1-7

- Andy Stokes - Metropolitian Spirit

"Singer wants the audience to feel his emotions"

Web posted Friday, July 13, 2001
By Steven Uhles
Staff Writer

Nothing about Augusta singer-songwriter Galen Kipar's music is expected. It twists and turns, leading listeners through the back country of Mr. Kipar's psyche.
He narrates the tour in a clear, crisp tenor, accented by an uncommon chiming guitar style that melodically mixes bluegrass-style picking, sultry blues slide work and percussive strumming. His stories eschew the standard verse-chorus-verse format, instead unfurling like tales passed around an imagined campfire.

''I want people to feel everything - every feeling of life,'' Mr. Kipar said. ''The music should be like a roller coaster. I want people to feel great, to feel sad and I want to touch each person in a way that relates to them in particular. That's the thing. It's all about connection.''

A fan of live performance, Mr. Kipar traces his musical development to his family, all of whom are avid music listeners, and a definitive event.

''I went to a camp, a church camp, in probably 1994,'' he said. ''On the third day they had little skits we all performed. I wrote this cheesy song and played it in chapel, and the yelling and clapping I got was just piercing. I think that pretty much clinched it for me. What other people get from my music still keeps me going.''

Rather than write lyrics that slide neatly into the melodies playing in his head, Mr. Kipar works in reverse, adding music only after the words are done.

''When you write songs where you fit the music around the words, you can pretty much do anything you want,'' he said. ''You can say anything you want. I mean, the world is a pretty screwed up place, so I go into the mountains to find peace. I want my music to feel the same way, to be something that gives peace.''

While Mr. Kipar said he loves going to see bands plug in, amp up and perform, he believes that the classic singer-songwriter format (a performer and a guitar) offers something, musically speaking, that can't be found anywhere else.

''I think the appeal of the single artist, standing there alone, is that they have to be pretty good to fill up that space,'' he said. ''An audience should be able to see the music come out of them. Theirs should be music that they have lived every second of, and when it is it's really something to see.''

It's an operating procedure that Mr. Kipar tries to keep with him every time he steps on a stage and begins to sing.

''Everything I go through should end up in that performance,'' he said. ''All the things that happen influence me and my style. That's how it evolves."

All contents © 1996 - 2003 The Augusta Chronicle. All rights reserved. Read our privacy policy. Contact the webmasters. is a proud member of

- Steven Uhles- Augusta Chronicle

"Galen Kipar in Concert"

Brevard College’s Galen Kipar Performs in Concert

BREVARD, NC (April 13, 2005) — Brevard College senior, composer and guitarist Galen Kipar will perform several of his original compositions in concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at the Porter Center for Performing Arts at Brevard College. Admission to the concert is free.

A native of Augusta, Ga., Kipar’s expressive vocal techniques and acoustic guitar work are influenced by the words of Bob Dylan and Jackson Brown, the vocal techniques of Joni Mitchell, and rhythms of Cat Stevens. His music can be described as a tapestry of passionate words and haunting melodies that reflects the conflicting beauty of our time.

While working on his bachelor’s degree in Music at Brevard College, Kipar performs on a regular basis across the East Coast with bands “Island Ford” and “The Non-Profits.” He co-founded the “Greater Augusta Singers Songwriter Series.”

His concert will include original compositions for solo guitar; solo piano accompanied by dance; flute and piano; and saxophone quartet along with guitar, vocals, bass, piano, organ and percussion. The pieces will vary from contemporary to classical and world folk/blues.

Guest performers will include:
Frieda Kipar
Heather Maloney
Rina Yuki
Daniel Chambo
Kyle Wright
Joe Kaiser
Sophia Yugay
Alex Ambrose
Jason Maloney
Shelley Moore
Jake Dempsey
James Pace
Bill Berg

- Angelita Colan Francia-Brevard College

"Record Review of Paper Sailer"

Sometimes if feels like "folk artist" is just code for dude with an acoustic guitar and "experimental" really means self-indulgent, inaccessible noodling. Galen Kipar's experimental folk masterpieces defy both conventions by miles. Kipar's arrangements are unconventional yet engaging, blending the unique flavors of harp, melodica, guitar, dobro and strings with the care and meticulousness of a gourmet chef. The melodies and arrangements defy expectations, the lyrics take surprising turns, and the adventure is a delight, every step of the way.

Thank God for “freak folk.” While Devendra Banhart is leading the brigades as far as the true weirdoes go, the floodgates have been opened wide for artists to make beautiful folksy music that doesn’t have the rotten cheesiness of the folk music of the '60s and '70s. While Galen Kipar has been at it for some time now with a wide variety of artists behind him, his sound is just as new and current as anything else, and deserves a listen not just through your headphones, but through a live show as well.

Paper Sailer is the kind of album that bands from Asheville, NC need to be putting out. The Hippie Mecca of the South has fallen prey to the weedy laziness that drapes over all “kind” towns - and the musicianship and instrumental talent on Paper Sailer is calm enough for the vegetarians and creative and interesting enough for the indie kids.

Like a stoned Jim O’Rourke, or a sober Will Oldham, Galen Kipar weaves through bluegrass, ambience, folk, jazz and blues in matter of seven songs and performs all of them beautifully. Do like me and listen to the album without, or certainly before, reading the bio on his website. It’s the kind of “all is well” serenity that makes us city folk dismiss and pre-judge a hippie before giving him a chance. This album is great, with or without the hippie preachings on the web.

Nov 19, 2008
Galen Kipar Project
Paper Sailer Review
Noel Wurst - Flagpole Athens, Ga - Noel Wurst - Flagpole Athens, Ga


The Galen Kipar Project
"Paper Sailer" 2008
Recorded and Mastered at Red Room Media - Roanoke, VA.

The Galen Kipar Project
"Why it's Needed" LP 2007
Recorded at Red Room Media, Roanoke, VA. Mastered at Collapseable Studios, Asheville, NC.

Live in Studio B, WNCW, 2007
Live in Studio B, WNCW, 2006

Galen Kipar & island Ford
recorded at Sounds Like Studio
in Roanoke, VA

Galen Kipar
"Tonka the Wolf" 2005
(for symphonic winds ens.)
Premier 2005 By Brevard College Symphonic Winds

Galen Kipar
"The Fish That Got Away" 2004
(for solo guitar)
Premier 2005 at University of Tenn.

Galen Kipar Project
"Becky Mt." LP 2002
Recorded at Boatwright Studio's
in Brevard, NC

Galen Kipar
Solo Album LP 2000
Recorded at Studio 14
in Augusta, Ga

Galen Kipar & Joshua Pride
"New Year's Show" LP 1999-2000
Recorded Live at the Imperial Theatre
in Augusta, Ga



GKP plays Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.

Voted #16 in WNCW 88.7 Southeast Regional Top 100 of 2008

GKP plays FLOYDFEST 09' !

"the care and meticulousness of a gourmet chef... the melodies and arrangements defy expectations, the lyrics take surprising turns and the adventure is a delight, every step of the way" "This album is great"
- Noel Hurst, Flagpole CD Review/ Editors Weekly Pick - Athens, Ga (Nov. 2008)

"Small-scale symphony: the GKP brings big ideas into simple songs. Lush instrumentation complementing an enexpectedly soulfull collection of songs. David Cole, Mtn Xpress - Asheville NC 08'

"Masters of Melody: Asheville’s Galen Kipar Project, sometimes grand in scope and melodically adventurous at every turn, conjures all sorts of descriptive terms... is based in the acoustic roots and classical music sounds, but seeks to create a new experience for the listener by fluidly combining those elements in an expanded, melodically rich sonic vernacular." High Country Press, David Brewer - Blowing Rock NC 08'

"Galen Kipar has been busy creating music over the past few years, which is one of the qualities that has helped make him a fixture on the Asheville music scene since his move to the city. He’s releasing his third album, in as many years, this month with a CD release." Jaime McKee, Citzen Times - 08'

"Playfully pushing the edge could be an accurate take on the Galen Kipar Project's music as a whole. It is smart, daring, and unashamed ..." Kim Clark, Asheville Magazine 07'

“...this brilliant young artist. Never settling for conventional melodic or lyrical choices, everything about Galen Kipar’s music says that he is most certainly a thinker. With string quartet, tuba, the sounds of playing children, classical guitars and church bells artfully woven through the complex-yet accessible-tunes, the songs on Why it’s Needed (07’) ...” Kim Clark, Asheville Magazine 2007

Asheville's Soomo Publishing company has purchased two of the Project's songs to use in a educational video that will reach over 260 Colleges and Universities across the US. - 2008

"Augusta Georgia's Canal Organization commissioned Kipar to compose a song about the historic Augusta Canal. The organization will feature two songs by Kipar on it's Compilation CD, "Going with the Flow." The compilation will feature songs about the Canal by various artists and be available online and in stores in 2009.

Voted #28 in WNCW 88.7 Southeast Regional Top 100 of 2006!

IMWS (Independent Music World Series) SOUTHEAST SEMIFINALIST 2006.

Featured on URTV - Asheville Music Television

"A prodigal son returns, with talented backing band...Kipar has constructed an impressive musical resume and willingness to create something new to the world." Andy Stokes, Metro Spirit 2005

Bill Berg plays with Galen Kipar: "full of interesting lyrics and melodies,,,,very unique writing. The general personality of the tunes grows on you and I really enjoy the soaring vocals,,,they glide over the tracks." Bill Berg, Musician (Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album)

"He narrates the tour in a crisp clear tenor, accented by an uncommon chiming guitar style that melodically mixes bluegrass-style picking, sultry blues slide work and percussive strumming" Steven Uhles, Augusta Chronicle 2001

"The new disk is a breath of fresh air. The album sounds like a collection of studio sessions, B-sides, and off the cuff recordings collected over a period of time. It has a beautiful unpolished vibe about it. At the same time, it is stealthfully well-produced and flows well over the hour plus the disc takes to play to the end. Kipar's songwriting and arranging is cohesive and poignant. His style on this CD is somewhere between Jeff Tweedy and maybe.... early Tom Waits. It's unique and original. Galen Kipar has the sound and feeling of both a seasoned road-weary song-smith, and a wide-eyed freak-folker. Highly recommended." Jake Dempsey - Producer/Musician, Red Room Media, Sol Creech Band

The music of the Galen Kipar Project was born out of a passion for the exploration of sound and composition. Within the woven eclectic sounds of the instrumentation, we are introduced to a poetic journey that is present in each of the Project's songs. The roots of blues, soul folk, world beat, classical and jazz, are echoed within the overall chemistry of the Project's music. In addition to the band's three core members, the GKP frequently features the talent of guest musicians who compliment the band's sound with such elements as female vocals, double bass, cello, violin, mandolin, tuba, trumpet, piano and B3 organ. With such additions lending to the Project's creativity and flexibility, these contributions unquestionably add depth and texture enhancing the musical experience. Throughout