Kevin Presbrey
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Kevin Presbrey

Aurora, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Aurora, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Jun
21
Kevin Presbrey @ Two Brothers Summer Festival

Aurora, Illinois, United States

Aurora, Illinois, United States

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For years, Kevin Presbrey toured the country as the front man of Painkiller Hotel, a modern rock group inspired by guitar-fueled bands like Pearl Jam and Live. Now, he’s dialing back the clock with his solo debut, an Americana album that takes its cues from Jim Croce’s folk music, the Eagles’ country-tinged rock and Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s pop.

Looking for a producer who could help him capture an old-school acoustic sound, Presbrey turned to Ryan Hadlock, who’d recently struck gold as the producer of the Lumineers’ platinum-selling debut. Together, the two brewed up Dust Unto Dust, a solo album that puts a dusty, twangy spin on Presbrey’s rock & roll past.

Dust Unto Dust was pieced together from song fragments and lyrical ideas that Presbrey had been jotting down for years. The floodgates really opened after his father’s death in 2012, however.

“When I lost my father, who’d been such a big supporter of my music and inspiration to me, I spent a lot of time thinking about something he’d told me over and over again throughout my life,” says Presbrey. “He’d say, ‘Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can, because you never know how long you’ll be here to do it.’ There had been rougher times throughout the last few years where I’d questioned my music career and my writing, and now without my biggest fan, it seemed like maybe it was time to hang it up and try something else.”

Instead, Presbrey doubled his efforts to do something his dad would’ve loved. Inspired by his old collection of vinyl records, he turned to music as a sort of therapy, carving out a new sound that relied heavily on acoustic guitar, vocals and a rootsy 1970s aesthetic. After demoing several songs in Chicago with producer Bobby Scumaci, he headed to Seattle in March 2013 to work with Ryan Hadlock. The two booked some time at Bear Creek Studios, where Brandi Carlile recorded her own American throwback album in 2012. They pulled long hours and paid close attention to Presbrey’s songs, and when the dust settled, Dust Unto Dust remained.

“Maintaining your sanity and a rock band at the same time generally don’t go hand in hand,” Presbrey adds, “So after several years of focusing solely on Painkiller Hotel, my gut instinct told me that it was time to return to my acoustic roots. Music is a big part of who I am, and even though my dad isn’t here anymore to cheer me on and talk shop after my shows, his guiding principles will always be here inside of me. His passing was a tragic event that abruptly changed my life, but in the end, the silver lining was the inspiration he gave me to create this album.” - Music News Nashville


Former front man of Painkiller Hotel, Kevin Presbrey has stepped out on his own with the release of his Dust Unto Dust EP. Working with producer Ryan Hadlock (of The Lumineer’s debut album, Ra Ra Riot and Milo Greene), Presbrey used influences like Jim Croce, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Ray LaMontage to craft his new sound. In 2012, Presbrey almost hung up his musician’s hat for good after the death of his biggest fan, his father. Instead, he took away “the inspiration…to create this album,” with the goal to make “something his dad would’ve loved.”
Dust Unto Dust is short, with only five songs, and that’s a little disappointing. In the sense that it’s over too soon, leaving you wanting more. But the perk is that everyone I know will have no choice but to enjoy it as much as I do since they’ll be listening to the songs over and over, ad nauseam. Dust Unto Dust reminds me of the music that I grew up listening to. The early 90s country that was about storytelling and a good twangy guitar – the kind of thing you don’t get as much of these days. “Tell Me What You Want” and “Something in the Water” are two of these songs. “Good Man” is a touching dedication to his father, but resonates if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you. The opening lines, “It’s gonna take a while to right this ship” is the shortest, but best way to describe experiencing and trying to cope with such an event. I think I like “Sunrise” the best, though it’s a tough call. Mostly, I like the slightly more upbeat nature of this song. It doesn’t help either that I relate (as a “creature of the night”) and too usually see the sunrise “from the other side.” “Always with Me” is a great closing song. It’s meaningful, second homage to Presbrey’s father, that is optimistic. I feel like it not only tells the journey Presbrey’s been on through this part of his life, but also the journey of this album as he says, “But I must go, I must go on.” I sure hope that he does keep going on. - The Blue Indian


Listening to the music of Kevin Presbrey is a sonic treat. He’s got one of those voices that seems to fit whatever mood you’re in like an old pair of shoes. There’s a quality to his rough-hewn vocal approach that brings to mind acts such as John Fogerty or Levon Helm.

That being said, Presbrey isn’t trying to be anything other than himself as an artist. The comparison to the afore-mentioned American icons comes to light the brightest on the opener, “Tell Me What You Want,” You can hear that high lonesome sound that Helm personified with the Band, while also demonstrating that swagger that Fogerty had with Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Other highlights on the disc include “Good Man,” which Presbrey injects with more than an ample share of loneliness. You can almost hear his heart break on the cut. There’s the melancholy feel of “Sunrise,” and the emotional yearning on “Something In The Water.” Each of the first four cuts are pretty spectacular, but Presbrey saves the best on this EP for last. “Always With Me” is nothing short of an outright masterpiece, complete with some moving cello work from Josh Neymann. Simply put, this is one of those albums that you need to be listening to rather than reading about. So…what’s your problem! Go listen now! - Music News Nashville


Discography

Kevin Presbrey Dust Unto Dust (2013)

1. Tell Me What You Want
2. Good Man
3. Sunrise
4. Something in the Water
5. Always With Me


http://www.allmusic.com/album/dust-unto-dust-mw0002562465

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Bio

Drawing upon the influences of sultry singer-songwriters such as Jim Croce and Ray Lamontagne, Kevin Presbrey’s latest creation, Dust Unto Dust, is a marriage of the catchy hook and the rootsy americana track you might hear on a early 1970s record. Collaborating with Seattle based producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Milo Greene, Ra Ra Riot, Rocky Votolato), Presbrey and drummer Danny Pratt ventured off to Bear Creek Studios in the Pacific Northwest with the intention of finding the organic acoustic sound they mutually enjoyed on their favorite vinyls from bands like America, The Eagles & Fleetwood Mac. In this first departure from Painkiller Hotel, Kevin's former band, the Dust Unto Dust EP was created with good intentions and a heavy heart.  To follow, is the story from the artist…

"Maintaining your sanity and a rock band at the same time generally don’t go hand in hand.  After several years of focusing solely on my hard rock group, Painkiller Hotel, my gut instinct told me that it was time to return to my acoustic roots.  I called Bear Creek Studio on a whim in hopes of reaching Ryan Hadlock who’d recently produced The Lumineers and Milo Greene, two albums I thoroughly enjoyed. Surprisingly, I was able to get him on the phone for a few minutes and convinced him to listen to my songs. From the onset, Ryan and I were on the same page when it came to creating music. Over the next several months, I sent him tracks I was demoing on my own as well as a few tracks I’d recorded locally with producer Bobby Scumaci. After fifty or so emails back and forth, Ryan and I were finally able to lock in some dates during March of 2013 to begin recording Dust Unto Dust.

Dust Unto Dust was constructed from song pieces and lyrics I’d jotted down for years, combined with new material I’d written following the death of my father in 2012. When I lost my father, who’d been such a big supporter of my music and inspiration to me, I spent a lot of time thinking about something he’d told me over and over again throughout my life, ”Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can because you never know how long you’ll be here to do it.” There had been some times throughout the last few years during some of the rougher stretches that I’d questioned my music career and my writing, and now without my biggest fan it seemed like maybe it was time to hang it up and try something else.

During the months following his passing, I struggled to crack a smile, I spent a lot of time thinking, and found myself leaning on the one thing that had been there for me since age 17--my music. As you can probably gather, I decided not to hang it up, and instead used songwriting as my therapy to get through my father’s death. I thought about and still think about what my dad said to me. I know that deep down, music is a big part of who I am, and even though my dad isn’t here anymore to cheer me on and talk shop after my shows, his guiding principles will always be here inside of me. His passing was a tragic event that abruptly changed my life, but in the end, the silver lining was the inspiration he gave me to create Dust Unto Dust."


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