Glenn Kaiser Solo
Gig Seeker Pro

Glenn Kaiser Solo

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1989 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1989
Solo Blues Acoustic




"Cardboard Box"

"Glenn Kaiser's acoustic blues is a throw-back kinda blues that is as real as the blues can get. Glenn's vocals are raw with emotion and blend perfectly with the lyrics and feel of Cardboard Box. With every chord and verse, Glenn let's us know the blues is alive and well."
- excerpt from on-air play

Cap'n Barney
Pat Turlo
ODD ROCK on WMHB 89.7 FM - WMHB 89.7 FM - Pat Turlo

"Cardboard Box"

After decades of playing first rock and more recently the blues, Glenn Kaiser releases arguably one of the most important works of his career, Cardboard Box, dedicated to Chicago's homeless. Surpassing politics surrounding the issue of homelessness, Kaiser looks directly at its people. And what better sound than that of his improvisational, soulful guitar licks to voice the cries of a hurting community? His storytelling brims with both hope ("Opportunity Dance") and despair ("The Protest"), acting as a mouthpiece for the suffering while issuing a charge to God's children, lest we forget, "one day we will answer for the love we did not send." - Kristen Garrett - Christianity Today - Kristen Garrett

"Cardboard Box"

[Glenn Kaiser's] new solo project, Cardboard Box, really brings the blues home for Kaiser. Including songs with titles like "Unemployment Blues" and "Urban Hobo," the album is an ode to Chicago's poor and homeless, with bluesy licks and lyrics that help the listener step into the shoes of those who live on the streets. - Mark Moring - Christianity Today - Mark Moring

"Cardboard Box"

"The one thing I appreciated most about the album was that the lyrical content wasn't heavy handed and overly political, but an honest portrayal of the struggle that many of the homeless feel every day as they try to just survive. Cardboard Box is a raw, honest, and beautifully difficult album to listen to, in which Glenn paints a very real picture of what is going on in the homeless community and in his neighborhood in North Chicago and the hope that can exist."
-Gar Saeger - Phantom Tollbooth - Gar Saeger

"Cardboard Box"

... this is the best album Kaiser's ever done.
Shane Speal - Cigar Box Nation - Shane Speal

"Cardboard Box"

...Stripping the instrumentation to a minimum, Kaiser offers up a set of songs accompanied only by guitar and harmonica. The CD’s theme, recognizing the social tragedies of poverty and homelessness, fits the sparse production perfectly.

Kaiser kicks off Cardboard Box with a big 12-string barrage, reminiscent of Barbeque Bob, named “Unemployment Blues”. The emotion is real and the conviction certain when Glenn cries out ”I don’t need your pity, I just need a place to lay my head”. “Loading Dock” marches along in a John Lee Hooker vamp, with Glenn accompanying himself on drums. Kaiser’s superior vocal skills are apparent on “Opportunity Dance”, a song that could easily be classic Bob Seger, were it not for the emotive story about the indignity of living on the streets. Such a personal honest account could only come from first hand experience.

Singer Ami Moss and harp great Joe Filisko make cameo appearances; Moss on “The Protest” and Filisko on “Poverty Blues” and the title track, “Cardboard Box”. Kaiser’s approach, while spartan, is not entirely acoustic. Loud electric guitars drive a couple of the tracks, and the stinging power of the electric is commanding and fierce when Kaiser wields it as a solo instrument. The combination of Filisko’s electrified harmonica and Kaiser’s guitar on “Cardboard Box” are persuasive weapons indeed. If Son House had an electric in 1930, he may have sounded very similar.

The tales of raw life on the streets that are found on Cardboard Box startlingly real and poignant. The CD contains a dozen tracks, each of which serves as reminder of life lived under the radar screen. These are stories of humanity “off the books”.

Glenn Kaiser’s familiarity with this material is obvious, and is borne of his lifelong commitment to the ministry to the homeless and indigent in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. - Chicago Blues Guide - Mark Baier

"Bound for Glory"

Here's a fine album from 2009 by the Resurrection Band veteran. It kicks off with "God's Not Dead" in true Kaiser toe-tapping blues style with Glenn and band adding a personal slant on the children's classic with some custom slide. Kaiser is joined at numerous points throughout the album by bassist Roy Montroy, drummer Ed Bialech amongst some others, most notably his ever supportive wife Wendi. The great thing is that even when Kaiser's only backing is his trusty guitar, songs like "I've Been Redeemed", "There Is No One" and the powerful "At The Cross" are still delightful pieces in stripped back state, as honest and open as can be. The soulful vocals are trademark Kaiser, with that gravely, emotive tone. "Go Tell It On The Mountain" is perhaps the greatest track as Wendi assists on a smouldering version the old folk hymn. Having seen Glenn perform live in Ireland a number of years ago it was the man's charisma that first appealed and certainly this album overflows with personality and passionate faith. - Cross Rhythms - Aaron Ferris

"Slow Burn"

"If I hadn't had the production input of my buddies, I woulda had us record this on a porch." Glenn Kaiser's words go a long way to summing up the feel of 'Slow Burn', his second project with Darrell Mansfield after the successful 'Trimmed And Burnin". This is raw, steel string, message blues, produced with precisely the right amount of restraint by Tom Cameron to ensure that it never suffocates under the weight of production perfectionism, nor, however, does it ever fray uncomfortably at the edges. A showcase for two of the best blues artists in the industry, 'Slow Burn' is a gem. Both men possess that angst-soaked gritty vocal that can only sing blues, both play (Kaiser guitar, Mansfield harmonica) with refined virtuosity, tailoring their immense talent to suit the genre, and the result is outstanding. Seventeen tracks, all but three penned by Glenn Kaiser, produced, arranged and performed with a depth and variety that kept me coming back for more. Don't expect, however, the sort of gut-wrenching lyrics Kaiser pens for Rez for they are not to be found here. The songwriting is geared to delivering its message with a punch, with only a smattering of more contemplative tracks, such as the beautiful "Long Way From My Home" and the title track, for which the vocals and guitar were, quite amazingly, recorded in one take. I was particularly impressed with the excellent arrangement of "This Little Light", the passionate opener "Cover Me" and the superlative "Ps 99" - never has a Psalm been fitted so well to a guitar. This is music that communicates, music that conveys God better than any I have yet heard - I was struck and inspired by the messages, blown away by the sheer talent and held fast by the depth of interpretation and production. Don't miss out. - Cross Rhythms - Niazi Fetto

"All My Days"

It's heartening to note that more and more contemporary artists are recognising that unless they are worshippers of God all their talent and music is as so much empty noise. This truth has clearly been known to Rez's beloved and profoundly gifted frontman for these songs, written over 20 years for personal devotion and congregational worship with Jesus People USA, shine with a heart in love with the healer of hearts and the saver of souls. This is a long way from the formulaic muzak that parts of the charismatic church now tragically accept as praise and worship. Neither is it some artificially conceived Metal praise album full of full throttle axe solos and where power chords are the only power the album's performers seem to recognise. This is a wistful, tender hearted album, with much of the playing acoustic. Even much of the blues edge of Glenn's magnificent voice is mellowed to suit the mood of meditative worship. What Rez's mosh head followers will make of an exquisite track like "In The Ocean Of His Love" where cellos weave in and out of the exquisite melody of "Surender" and "Behold The Lamb Of God" or where Glenn is joined by a whole choir of worshippers, I know not. I can but hope that rather than wrangling about this or that style of music, more Christians will catch the heart of Christ, and when listening to praise and worship albums that means catching the heart of the worshipper singing his songs onto tape. I suppose the test of any worship album for the reviewer is does it make him want to put down his pen, step back from his 'nice guitar solo on this track' book of clichés and bring all his thoughts to the throne room of the Lord of all. This does. - Cross Rhythms - Tony Cummings

"Throw Down Your Crowns"

This is truly totally excellent.... Each track is unique and the lyrics are from the heart, reminiscent of the no compromise stance of Keith Green. The music is alive with goodness yet rough enough for a good stomp. This has to rate amongst the best and is a total must for anyone whatever your taste. It is simply beyond classification as it pushes the boundaries into the top ratings.
- Cross Rhythms - Joanna Thomas

"You Made the Difference in Me"

Resurrection Band frontman in soulful R&B you can teach an old dog new tricks shock recording!!! Somebody pick me up off the floor! I plopped this into my CD player expecting either some hot rock music or an acoustic worship album and imagine my surprise when out came this gorgeous soul music with plenty of '60s horns and Glenn's gruff voice pitching over the top! As for my favourites, I love the rumbling organ and groove of "Diggin My Own Grave"; the wandering piano, punchy horns and understated girlie backing vocals of "Evidence" and the uptempo funkiness of "Self Control" where Glenn goes for a soulful gravelly approach which works! As you'd imagine with Kaiser, the lyrics are spiritually focused, whether he's exploring the intimacy of a relationship with God on the pumping "Wind Me Up" or the joys of a committed marriage relationship on the deliciously soulful ballad "Marry Me". If you like '60s soul then there are so many nice touches that will grab you - the expressive sax solos, tons of organ, Kaiser's occasional ventures into a falsetto, the fab horn arrangements and it's clear that Kaiser has been listening to too many Sam & Dave albums! Occasionally this is more Blues Brothers than Stax but hey! This is a brave man trying a new direction, now where did I put my black hat and sunglasses? Glenn Kaiser proves to be one Blues Brother who really is on a mission from God!
- Cross Rhythms - Mike Rimmer

"Time Will Tell"

Resurrection Band front man, Cross Rhythms columnist and all round good guy, this is Glenn Kaiser as you've never heard him before. Gone is the heavy rock sound of the Jesus rock veterans, welcome a more acoustic, guitar-based stuff of another time and place. The raw, uncluttered music bed provides a perfect counterbalance to a growling, rasping Mr Kaiser with attitude. Every burning issue buried deep in the questioning mind of this arch-commentator is released in a flurry of lyrical prose that demands attention. The Church gets in the neck on 'Deliver', one of my favourite tracks, and even the viciousness of contemporary pop music is given a roasting on 'Ya Don't Say'. But not everything is right in your face, particularly when Glenn adopts a more reflective pose on 'One More Step', an ambiguous love song to his lovely wife, Wendy, and the Almighty. The album's blend of musical styles may confuse those who love to put musicians into nice little boxes, but just ignore the experts, crank up the volume and you'll soon get a taste of the passion and heart of a man who definitely walks the talk.  - Cross Rhythms - Steve Cox

"Glenn Kaiser Band - Carolina Moon"

Similar bluesy songsters would be Kenny Wayne Shepherd or B.B. King, if he cranked up the volume and distortion. Kaiser's gravelly vocals and impassioned delivery on guitar make for a moving experience, yet all the while there is a message of hope intertwined with the pain. 
- Phantom Tollbooth - Zik Jackson


Live at Cornerstone Festival 2012 (with Joe Filisko) 2013
Cardboard Box 2011
Bound For Glory 2006
Ripley County Blues 2002
No Greater Love 2002
Time Will Tell 1999
You Made The Difference In Me 1998
Into the Night (Live) 1995
Spontaneous Combustion 1994
All My Days 1993
Slow Burn 1993
Trimmed and Burnin' 1990



Glenn Kaiser has had a life-long love and respect for the blues, and it infuses everything he has done since day one. He has taken his brand of blues music all over the midwest, the US, and the world with an expertise that comes from his deep well of experience fronting blues-based bands since his youth. 

While audiences everywhere and in every type of venue will continue to benefit from his phenomenal performances, the fuel in his seemingly bottomless tank these days is using this medium to make a connection with people in the prison system. Kaiser has always seen value in things deemed valueless, which is evident in his constant propensity to build 1- 2- and 3-stringed guitars out of everything from cigar boxes to tin cans and tennis rackets - then plug them into an amplifier and make them come to new life as bona fide instruments. This same ethic is applied in his commitment to performing regularly in prisons in Illinois, as well as throughout the US, where his hope is that society's least can realize their own value, and possibly experience a fresh start. His current project, a yet untitled acoustic blues album, is being created with this exact audience in mind. 


Glenn Kaiser has been singing the blues and sometimes soul, R&B or rock since he was twelve years old. Growing up in a poor family living and hand-to-mouth in central Wisconsin, Glenn eventually gravitated to Milwaukee's local music scene where he fronted over a dozen bands, and wrote and performed solo acoustic music - all before turning nineteen years of age.

With his adolescence plagued by drug and alcohol abuse, Glenn got clean through following Jesus after a life-changing spiritual confrontation around his eighteenth birthday. During this time his music got heavier and in many ways, deeper. His former songwriting motif celebrating drugs, sex and other vices gave way to lyrics about spiritual struggle, personal temptation, institutional sin, poverty, exploitation, racism, materialism and other issues that few musicians seemed willing to tackle.

Now, after more than four decades of making original music - twenty-five years of which fronting the hard-rock Resurrection Band - Kaiser is known for his raw, bluesy vocals, fiery guitar playing, bottleneck slide and harmonica work on thirty recordings and innumerable live shows. Glenn and his family have lived in Chicago's inner city for over thirty years doing mission work with people not unlike he once was. Kaiser has released several acoustic-based CDs between his electric blues and blues/rock albums. His seminal delta blues projects Trimmed and Burnin' and follow-up Slow Burn (both with harp player/singer Darrell Mansfield) established him as a singular and authentic bluesman.

In the summer of 2012, Glenn Kaiser and harmonica master Joe Filisko teamed up for a concert at the final Cornerstone Festival in west-central Illinois. The 40-minute concert features this great blues duo showcasing their years of talent and artistry. Both audio and video recordings of the performance were released under the title Glenn Kaiser and Joe Filisko Live at Cornerstone Festival 2012.

Three contemporary worship albums, along with the folk-pop Time Will Tell, fill out the acoustic discography. Acoustic cuts also comprise half of Kaiser's critically acclaimed Ripley County Blues project, which was recorded in a log cabin lodge in rural Missouri. The acoustic-based Bound for Glory features his unique arrangements of old hymns and spiritual choruses done mostly in the blues tradition he so loves.

In addition to performing solo, Glenn also plays out with his three-piece blues rock trio Glenn Kaiser Band (GKB). He has shared his love of found-object art by leading several workshops on the art of cigar box guitar making to all ages. He is currently writing a book that details his life story due to be available in late 2019.