Kevin Gordon

Kevin Gordon

 Nashville, Tennessee, USA
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Louisiana native singer-songwriter delivers primal grooves with sharp lyrics that tell great stories. Music w/integrity that defies categories & appeals to a wide audience. Featured artist: Mountain Stage, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest, Wolf Trap, Twangfest, Kentuck, Memphis Music & Heritage Fest

Biography

Over the course of twenty years of writing, recording and touring, Kevin Gordon has built an impressively consistent catalog of songs, a critically-acclaimed stack of albums, and a reputation for dynamic live performances that make first-time listeners life-long fans. He is currently completing his next full-length album, to be released later this year. Among the new material is a 7-minute piece titled “Colfax”. The song has already generated some great press:

"Every now and then, someone writes a great song and fellow songwriters curse themselves or not coming up with the same idea . . . . More rare, though, is the undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person’s experience. Kevin Gordon’s ‘Colfax’ is that song. It clocks in at well over six minutes. It’s ostensibly about a kid in a marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond. It is not yet on an album, and it will not be recorded by some famous country radio star. But we'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than ‘Colfax’ . . . when Gordon moves it from stage to CD."
--Peter Cooper, The Tennessean

Gordon talks about “Colfax”: “It’s based on an experience from junior high. This song, like others on the new record, draw from my memories of growing up in the land of strangeness that is northern Louisiana, during a time when this very provincial place was going thru post-civil-rights-movement growing pains with plenty of resistance from what was then a very powerful ‘old guard’. The song touches on a lot of different things, but ends up a celebration of the stoic heroism and determination of our band director.”

Other songs recorded for the new release include “Side of the Road”, a montage of film-like images and characters spanning from childhood memory to the Iraq war, and “Pecolia’s Star”, based on the life of African-American quilter Pecolia Warner, and inspired by a chapter in Local Color, a book on Mississippi folk artists by Dr. William Ferris.

A north Louisiana native, Gordon grew up hearing music that shares the same raw emotion and spontaneity that he now puts into his own. “My folks would have people over on the weekends, and I remember hearing a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis . . . a live record on Smash, I think; and Ray Charles. Green daquiris in the blender, wet glass rings on the console, ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘What’d I Say’. That music—it hit me hard. I loved it so much—that’s what drove me to want to sing, play, and write. “ A variety of musical pursuits followed: punk, rockabilly, blues, and now a Nashville-based career as a recording artist and songwriter.

Gordon’s songs have been recorded by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Levon Helm of The Band, Ronnie Hawkins, Kate Campbell, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, and others. The title track from his Down to the Well CD, a duet with Grammy-winner Lucinda Williams, was featured on two prominent compilations: the 2001 Oxford American Southern Music Sampler, and No Depression: What It Sounds like, Volume 1, released by Dualtone in 2004.

Gordon tours regularly throughout the U.S., and is a regular performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Louisiana Folklife Festival. Also a published poet, Gordon holds an MFA degree from the renowned University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two children.

Lyrics

Watching the Sun Go Down

Written By: Kevin Gordon/Gwil Owen

Oh come look at the burning
Oh come look at the burning
Changes in the turning
Watching the sun go down

Hundred birds up on the highline
Hundred birds up on the highline
All fly away at the same time
Watching the sun go down

Wheel him out into the daylight
Wheel him out into the daylight
Skin and bones all dressed in white
Watching the sun go down

Long as I can remember
Long as I can remember
Been a cold December
Watching the sun go down

Black branches tangle the blue sky
Black branches tangle the blue sky
Wrinkled face and a glass of rye
Watching the sun go down

O come look at the burning
O come look at the burning
Changes in in the turning
Watching the sun go down

Flowers

Written By: Kevin Gordon/Gwil Owen

Reverend John was an upstanding preacher man
Sang tenor in a gospel band
They were driving home on a Saturday night
Last thing he saw was a drunk's headlights

Now his wife ties roses to a wooden cross
At the place by the highway where her man was lost

Look, look at those flowers
Look, remember them well
Look, look at those flowers
Every rose petal’s got a tale to tell

Jody Brown was a hard-working family man
Made a good living with his own two hands
He started in drinking when they closed the mill
Went a little left of center coming over the hill

Now his wife ties roses on a wooden cross
At the place by the highway where her man was lost

Look, look at those flowers
Look, remember them well
Look, look at those flowers
Every rose petal’s got a tale to tell

So tired, so many miles to go
I’m just trying to get home
So tired, so dark out on this road
I’m just trying to get home

24 Diamonds

Written By: Kevin Gordon

Hey buddy I’m back in town
Got a room where I can come unwound
A little sound from my guitar strum
Drinking black coffee in the blazing sun

I saw your mama in the bar last night
She was smiling but sad inside
A bracelet made from your guitar strings
Little lights that spelled out your name

24 diamonds, 24 diamonds

We were 19 and playing in a band
You beat that Strat til the blood in your hand
Ran down the strings, onto the floor
All you wanted was more more more

24 diamonds, 24 diamonds

Hey buddy what happened to you
How’d you get lost in Baton Rouge
There’s a thousand bucks missing, there’s a .38 shell
There’s things you know that the facts won’t tell

That bar we used to play burned down to ash
Pappy the Greek blew town in a new Cadillac
The past is steady leaving, every moment gone
In the blinding fade I can hear your song

24 diamonds, 24 diamonds

Hey buddy I’m back in town
Got a room where I can come unwound
A little sound from my guitar strum
Drinking black coffee in the blazing sun

Discography

2012: Gloryland (Crowville)
2010: Salvage & Drift, Vol.1 (Crowville)
2007: Louisiana Snow ( limited-ed. 7" vinyl 45)
2005: o Come Look at the Burning (Crowville Collective)
2000: Down to the Well (Shanachie)
1998: Cadillac Jack's #1 Son (Shanachie)
1997: Illinois 5 a.m.(e.p.) (Motherlode)
1993: Carnival Time (Real Groovy(New Zealand)

Set List

Emphasis is on the original songs from the records.
Covers are slipped in during longer shows, anything from Hank Williams, Sr. to Slim Harpo to the Velvet Underground. Most shows now are one 75-90 minute set, though we're flexible.