KC Blues Band
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KC Blues Band

Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Band Blues Singer/Songwriter

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"KC Blues Wowing Fans"

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Sunday, January 20, 2007 - Arizona Republic Newspaper; Area teen guitarist wowing fans

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Area teen guitarist wowing fans
Doug Carroll
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 20, 2007

Kathryn Casenhiser has heard it all before, and now she just smiles.

It goes something like this: How cute! The little boy from Chandler is going to play his electric guitar! I'll bet he has worked hard to learn a song! His parents must be proud!

Then Kathryn's 14-year-old son, Kevin, all 5 feet and 96 pounds of him, steps confidently to the microphone, a Fender Stratocaster slung from his shoulder, and rips into one of more than three dozen blues classics from his play list.

Jaws drop as his command of the instrument and his stage presence suggest not a prodigy but a pro. His still-unbroken voice already has a surprisingly bluesy, world-weary wail and hints at big things to come.

Kevin Casenhiser is no Muddy Waters or Eric Clapton yet, but he's gaining on those blues guitar gods. He has a gift, he's using it and he's worth a listen Sunday afternoon at Alice Cooper'stown in downtown Phoenix, where he will play a one-hour set with his KC Blues Band.

Nervous? Not this kid. He's fearless.

"The larger the crowd, the better he does," said Kathryn, recalling Kevin's solo rendition of T-Bone Walker's Stormy Monday at Alice Cooper's annual Christmas Pudding show in December at the Dodge Theatre. Kevin brought down the house and received a standing ovation from the crowd of 5,000-plus, which included one of his former schoolteachers, who by coincidence was seated in the front row.

Kevin has been way ahead of schedule since he began walking at 8 months. As a 5-year-old, he was fed a steady diet of old blues, rock and soul tunes by his salesman father, Ed, as the two drove around in Ed's truck. He ate it up. At 7, he was taking guitar lessons in a Mesa class that normally had an age requirement of 13.

At 10, he was playing in coffeehouses. At 11, he played a 10-song, 45-minute set for 200 people at an Oktoberfest in Overgaard - his first gig.

"I'm not out riding bikes in the cul-de-sac anymore," Kevin said. "There's always a goal I'm going for. It can be as small as another song or as big as playing Carnegie Hall.

"I'd like to have one of the tightest blues bands in Arizona and be known throughout the state."

The living room in the Casenhisers' southeast Chandler home has been converted into a practice den for Kevin's four-piece band, which includes savvy musician Jim Riccitelli, 46, of Gilbert.

Riccitelli, a keyboardist and transplanted New Yorker who played with such acts as the Monkees and Herman's Hermits, has been mentoring Kevin for the past year, schooling him in music theory and preparing him for a career in the business.

Kevin recorded a demo CD in the fall of 2005, and he is starting to write his own material. His appreciation of the blues is announced by a T-shirt he owns: "The blues are the roots. The rest are the fruits."

"It's rare that you run into a kid his age who knows what he wants to do with the rest of his life and is applying himself to it," Riccitelli said. "That's a talent in itself. He has the gift and he has the drive.

"I feel that Kevin's going to go someplace. I'd like to see him become a household name and a musician who is respected for all the right reasons."

The band, currently looking for a regular drummer, isn't the sort of project for a big-ego veteran player. The mission is made clear up front: Develop Kevin's musicianship and leadership.

"Guys have to understand it's Kevin's band," Riccitelli said. "The focus is on him. Later on in his career, he'll be able to hire some really good players to work for him. I'd like him to become a nice guy to work for."

Bob Corritore, whose Rhythm Room blues club in Phoenix is among the places Kevin has played, also thinks the sky is the limit.

"Kevin is a very talented young man," Corritore said, "and I look forward to seeing him do great things."

Kathryn and Ed Casenhiser, aware that their son oozes ability, work to keep Kevin grounded. Last August, they enrolled him in a tuition-free, K-11 online school, Arizona Virtual Academy, to create more flexibility in his practice and performance schedule.

"It's easier to learn and concentrate without 30 kids around me," said Kevin, an eighth-grader and honors student. He previously attended Santan Junior High in Chandler.

The Casenhisers are the antithesis of pushy, obnoxious stage parents. They give Kevin room to breathe and be a teenager, even though he long has preferred the company of adults and can be caught saying "when I was a kid" in conversation.

"They let their son's talent do the talking," Riccitelli said. "They approach it the right way."

Sometimes the right way is to get out of Kevin's way.

"If he wants it, he goes after it," Ed Casenhiser said. "With him, there's no slowing down and thinking about it."


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Area teen guitarist wowing fans




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Kevin Casenhiser, (KC Blues), Was born on December 5th 1992, in Mesa Arizona. He has been playing the guitar since he was six years old and has been playing live since he was eleven. Kevin is now 16, and some of his musical influences include: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Walter Becker, Billy Gibbons, Freddie King, Oscar Peterson and his personal favorite, Eric Clapton. His favorite band of all time is Steely Dan. Kevin describes his music as a "Bluesy-Jazzy Funk-Rock that goes to "11"! Kevin performs solo or with his 5 member band, which consists of drums, bass, keys, sax, and Kevin on the guitar. As a solo artist and with his band, Kevin has performed over 100 shows and festivals throughout Arizona and also Minnesota, Florida and Colorado, and has done numerous benefits. He has also won numerous awards. In January 2006, 13-year-old Kevin won 2nd place in the "Chandler Center for the Arts Teen Competition". In November of 2006, Kevin made it to the finals with the KC Blues Band in the "Arizona Blues Showdown", at the famous Rhythm Room in Phoenix. In December of 2006, Kevin won Alice Cooper's annual "Poof is in the Pudding" solo contest. As a result he was invited to do a solo performance at the Dodge Theatre, in Phoenix, AZ in front of 6,000 people. The KC Blues Band was named "Performer of the Year" for 2008 at the Phoenix Music Awards. And most recently, Kevin was declared the winner of the 2008 "Arizona Drug Free Super Star Search Competition", sponsored by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Kevin continues to improve musically and lives by the motto "The Blues are the Roots, the Rest are the Fruits". The KC Blues Band also released their debut album "Perfectly Toasted Blues" in early 2008. The sky is the limit for this promising young artist.