Terry Kitchen
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Terry Kitchen

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Heaven Here On Earth review"

Set aside that book of short stories and put on this CD. Aided with a capable band of guitars, drums, bass, vocals, keyboards and more, Kitchen gives us a solid collection of hard luck stories and gentle folk gospel with characters ranging from a world weary clerk at s Seven-Eleven to a naive Beatle wanna-be. His everyman voice…makes each song more like a conversation than something you'd hear on mainstream radio. Kitchen has no desire to be a big Nashville writer anyway.

"Never Trust a bandit with Your Heart of Gold" is a catchy ballad reminiscent of American traditional folk that warned women of the evil lurking out in the world. The twist is that the nefarious character is a preacher. A rolling minor chord holds it together. "Tip Your Waitress" has an edgy campy feel and it oughta be on every waitress's MP3 player, ready to crank after a long day at the diner…. The standout cut is "Village of the Sun," inspired by a resort catering to wounded veterans, described in Ron Kovic's Born on the Fourth of July. An expressive Spanish style guitar and violin contrast beautifully with the gritty lyrics. The title cut is a sweet inspirational number that he wrote for those who might feel left out at a gospel concert.

While the instruments complement each other well…if you're the kind who likes to settle in with a good story, it won't matter. - Sing Out! 2007

"Heaven Here On Earth review"

When people mention the local music scene, thoughts usually turn to clubs in Boston and Cambridge. In fact, there's plenty of music being created, performed and produced throughout the Parkway, with Roslindale as a sort of mini-center of activity.

Roslindale resident Terry Kitchen's newest CD is "Heaven Here on Earth" (Urban Campfire), a mostly laid-back, troubadour-centric affair featuring 12 tracks (the last one is a neat little reprise rendition of an earlier tune) on which Kitchen tells detailed musical stories and paints intricate musical pictures.

A couple of them have an autobiographical feel: The opener, "The Seven Eleven Overture" gives us a look at small town life through an observer who's unwilling to spoil things for everyone, choosing not to tell them what's out there in the rest of the world; another, "Magic Days," is a remembrance of Kitchen's early days in Boston, trying to make it in a rock band.

Most of the songs are of a gentle nature - at least in their sound; though some of them, such as the depressing and even disturbing "Calling Out for Love" - about a single mother and her trouble-prone son - carry a less-than-gentle message.

Some listeners will note that the collection of slow, pretty, thoughtful, nicely arranged songs, most of them sung in Kitchen's plaintive style, could probably use a little oomph at one point or another. And Kitchen is happy to oblige when he loosens up with the light and funny "Tip Your Waitress," which chronicles a hardworking woman on the job and at home, and later on the wistful "Magic Days," which turns into a real rocker.

If you had to pick one song to sum up what Kitchen is trying to get across here, it would be the title tune, presented in a spare arrangement with him singing and playing all instruments, complemented by a couple of backup vocalists. It suggests, quite simply, that it's great to be alive. - Roslindale Transcript, 2007

"Heaven Here On Earth concert preview"

Sometimes, we'll find an artist we like, contact them, and just throw it open. What makes you tick? What makes you do what you do? And so, we did that recently with acclaimed folk-blues-rocker Terry Kitchen, who plays Saturday March 24 at the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain. It's to celebrate the release of his new CD, "Heaven Here on Earth." Kitchen e-mailed us this: "I approach my music primarily as a songwriter, not, 'Hey, I need something bluesy that I will sound cool singing,' but, 'Would the person in the world of whatever song I am working on really say that and say it that way? And does the music conjure the mood and feel of the scene?' The artists who interest me most - Warren Zevon, Jules Shear, Kris Kristoffersen, Ian Hunter - explore the gray areas, between 'good' and 'bad', love and hate, anger and resignation, 'funny' and 'sad'. People, life and love are rarely, if ever, all one thing, so I try to acknowledge that tension between the differerent feelings and impulses that we all feel simultaneously. This CD is a little different for me in that we went a little further afield to get sounds to paint the moods of the songs - the string quartet on 'Nothing Works Better,' or the vibes on 'Life is Hard Enough,' the Parisian accordion on 'The Seven Eleven Overture.'" - sung from the point of view of the man behind the counter at a 7-11. "It was fun to break out of the 'man with guitar' mold... and now, performing the songs live, even when I'm solo, I still hear that cello or drum fill or whatever in my head, and it helps me stay in the mood of the song, and establish it for the audience." The Roslindale-based Kitchen is having a CD release party (along with Somerville folk singer/songwriter Laura Bullock) and concert, presented by JP Unplugged. That is, really. No mikes. No amps. Starts at 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. - jimsullivanink.com

"Terry Kitchen Interview"

There's a lot more to singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen than meets the eye. There's a wealth of musical, songwriting, and performing knowledge that lies beneath the quiet, and unassuming personality that could be you or me. While you may not see Terry's name in bright lights in New York City or on the front page of the Rolling Stone; you will see his name on folk festival, and coffee house calendars across the country and while Terry says he doesn't seek fortune and fame, I think he's already achieved that but in a much more subtle way than most artists. Terry is perhaps the essence of what a folk singer/songwriter should be and if there were never a book written to explain what songwriting is all about; this short conversation with Terry Kitchen may be it.
I met Terry about five years ago when I attended my first NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) meeting in Waltham, Massachusetts. Because of the distance, traveling from Rutland, I couldn't attend every meeting but I thoroughly enjoyed the meetings I was able to attend. Terry is the coordinator of the Boston NSAI workshop as well as a songwriter and recording artist. His songs have won the grand prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and first prize in the USA Songwriting Competition and been runner-up in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. His new CD Heaven Here On Earth, his eighth solo CD, reflects Kitchen's continued musical growth, both in its sound and in the wider perspective of his songwriting. Whether in character (like the all-night clerk in "The Seven Eleven Overture" or the Mexican hotel worker in the "Village Of The Sun") or directly from the heart, Kitchen constantly challenges and surprises the listener. Heaven Here On Earth has already spent four months on the national Folk-DJ airplay chart, reaching #25.

While every song on Terry's new CD, Heaven Here On Earth could be considered a masterpiece in it's own right, I will offer my personal thoughts on two of my favorites. The album's opener, "The Seven Eleven Overture" is a snapshot in time."It's Saturday night, the last one of the summer, the kids are out in force to make it count. Though Kitchen may be drawing on his own hometown experiences, anyone who's ever cruised their own Main Street (and/or seen American Graffiti)is immediately right back in the driver's seat. "The girls are all decked out in tube tops and mascara, and those sandals with the 6 inch spikes. They wiggle like women but they giggle just like children, when the boys pull up to offer them rides." But this song unlike say, Springsteen's "Spirits In The Night," isn't sung by one of the kids but by an observer who sees it all unfold: "Here behind the counter of this 7-11 all night long I watch 'em come and go."My money says he was one of them long ago, and he still feels both their pleasure and pain:" Back out on the strip are the loners and the losers,the freaks and the geeks, the stoners and the boozers circling like moths to the light."

In the moving Spanish ballad "Village Of The Sun," Terry describes a resort in Mexico where wounded American soldiers go to get away: "They come from the north from Los Estados Unidos, the soldiers or the pieces that are left, they come for the weather, they come for the tequila but mostly they come to forget. Welcome Amigos to the Village of the Sun, where yesterday's a dream and tomorrow never comes, and a pretty senorita will lay with you tonight, rub her breasts against your body and make everything all right." The song echoes hints of songs like "Malagenia and Granada." You feel the rough camaraderie of the men and the ghosts that haunt them. I've always felt that songs like Harry Chapin's "Taxi" and Jim Croce's" "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" could make great Hollywood movies; with that in mind, "Seven Eleven Overture" or "Village Of The Sun" might be the basis for a great mini series.

At what age did you become interested in learning and playing music?

For my first grade birthday party my parents took me to see A Hard Days Night, and ever since them I wanted to be, and assumed I would be, a musician. My friends had older brothers and sisters with great record collections, so I remember listening to Rubber Soul as a third grader, and the White Album in fifth grade. I knew the Beatles wrote their own songs, so I did too. I wrote my first song in fourth grade, even before I learned guitar. I started taking guitar lessons from a college kid in the neighborhood, which was cool because he taught me "Rocky Raccoon" and "House Of The Rising Sun," music I wanted to know. My first performance was at a Cub Scout meeting where I and two other kids did "Hey Jude" and two songs we wrote. I grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania , two blocks away from Lafayette College, and I think growing up in that environment - the anti -war rallies, the music, the belief that you could change the world - is central to who I am, and to my music. I feel so lucky that that's t - Metronome, 2007


2009 summer to snowflakes
2007 heaven here on earth
2004 that’s how it used to be
2002 Right Now
1999 blues for cain & abel
1997 blanket
1995 I Own This Town



Award-winning Boston contemporary folk singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen is a performing artist who's as much a storyteller as a musician. His keen eye for detail, fearless emotional honesty, and knowledge of and empathy for his subjects combine with his skills as a composer, singer and guitarist to take the listener on a journey to the heart of each song. Live, his engaging stage presence and ironic humor connect with every member of the audience. His latest CD is summer to snowflakes, released in march 2009.

summer to snowflakes, Kitchen's 9th solo CD, reflects the continued refinement of his songwriting skills. Opening cut "Listening to Summer" effortlessly evokes a small town summer evening, with cicadas mixing with the cheers of a baseball broadcast. A harder edges surfaces as "Rainbow (in the Middle of the Night)" vividly describes a young girl's encounter with a 1930s lynch mob. The autobiographical "Audience of One" recalls Kitchen's beginnings as a songwriter and life as a performer. The album also showcases his musical confidence and maturity - some stories are best told with just a guitar, while others inspire rich musical arrangements, such as the horns that grace "The Last Straight Boy in Ptown" or the reggae groove of "Build a Bridge from Both Sides."

summer to snowflakes follows Kitchen's 2007 release, heaven here on earth, which reached #25 on the national Folk DJ airplay chart, 2004's ecological-themed that's how it used to be (which spent 3 months on Folk DJ, reaching #29), 2002's Right Now (#34 on Folk DJ), 1999's blues for cain & abel (a deeply personal collection of songs of doubt and faith), 1997's blanket (which was voted #21 best CD of that year by Folk Digest) and 1995's I Own This Town.

Terry Kitchen was born in Phillipsburg, New Jersey and grew up in the Easton-Bethlehem area of Pennsylvania. He moved to small town Findlay, Ohio for his high school years, then attended Occidental College (with Barack Obama) and the Guitar Institute of Technology, both in Los Angeles. He moved to Boston in 1982, where he played in the rock band Loose Ties (whose video "Last Time" was played on MTV exactly once) until 1988, when he decided acoustic music was the most natural setting for his distinctive narrative songwriting.

For the past twenty years he has performed on the New England and national folk scene at clubs and coffeehouses including Club Passim and The Nameless Coffeehouse in Mass., The Postcrypt Coffeehouse and Cafe Lena in NY, Godfrey Daniels in PA and The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and at festivals including Falcon Ridge, the South Florida Folk Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He's appeared in 18 states, including Texas, California and Alaska, and Canada.

Terry Kitchen's songs have won the Grand Prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and First Place in the USA Songwriting Competition and been runner-up in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. His songs have been recorded by folk artists Barbara Kessler and Janet Feld and country singer Dale Alliare.

Richard Middleton of Victory Review says "Terry Kitchen's songs are portraits of ordinary people and emotions, captured with extraordinary compassion, honesty and humor. A talented writer." Jeff Pearson of the Bluebird Cafe says "Terry Kitchen is definitely a cut above with his eye for detail and unique song ideas. With a keen sense of melody, Terry's songs truly deliver and take the listener on an emotional ride!"