Terry Kitchen

Terry Kitchen

 Boston, Massachusetts, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

Award winning Boston contemporary folk singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen's songs are portraits of ordinary people and emotions, captured with extraordinary compassion, honesty and humor. "One of New England's best songwriters"-The Boston Globe

Biography

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!"

Lyrics

Life Is Hard Enough (album version)

Written By: Terry Kitchen

SO THIS WOMAN LEFT HER LIGHTS ON AND HER CAR WOULDN'T START
I HAD JUMPER CABLES IN MY TRUNK
BUT I WAS LATE AND IT WAS RAINING AND I WAS WEARING MY GOOD SUIT
I SAID SORRY BUT I HAVE TO RUN
I ROLLED BACK UP MY WINDOW AND I STARTED TO PULL OUT
THEN I HEARD MY CONSCIENCE WHISPER "TURN THIS CAR AROUND"

LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH
TIME IS SHORT ENOUGH
HEARTS ARE SCARRED ENOUGH
FROM THE HURTING THAT WE DO
LOVE IS SCARCE ENOUGH
JOY IS RARE ENOUGH
WE'RE ALL STRONG ENOUGH
TO HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH
TODAY YOU MIGHT NEED ME
TOMORROW I'LL NEED YOU
LET'S NOT TURN AWAY
LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH

THERE'S A FAMILY AT CHURCH, A FATHER AND TWO GIRLS
THE MOTHER LOST HER FIGHT LAST YEAR
MY WIFE'S GOT THE YOUNGEST IN HER SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS
NOW EVERY LESSON'S CRYSTAL CLEAR
WE CAN'T STOP BAD THINGS FROM HAPPENING, WE CAN'T EVEN KNOW WHY
BUT WE CAN GIVE EACH OTHER COMFORT AND COURAGE WHEN WE CRY

LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH
TIME IS SHORT ENOUGH
HEARTS ARE SCARRED ENOUGH
FROM THE HURTING THAT WE DO
LOVE IS SCARCE ENOUGH
JOY IS RARE ENOUGH
WE'RE ALL STRONG ENOUGH
TO HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH
TODAY YOU MIGHT NEED ME
TOMORROW I'LL NEED YOU
LET'S NOT TURN AWAY
LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH

AND MAYBE IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE IT ALL WORTHWHILE
THOSE SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS THAT MAKE EACH OTHER SMILE

LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH
TIME IS SHORT ENOUGH
HEARTS ARE SCARRED ENOUGH
FROM THE HURTING THAT WE DO
LOVE IS SCARCE ENOUGH
JOY IS RARE ENOUGH
WE'RE ALL STRONG ENOUGH
TO HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH
TODAY YOU MIGHT NEED ME
TOMORROW I'LL NEED YOU
LET'S NOT TURN AWAY
LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH
LET'S NOT TURN AWAY
LIFE IS HARD ENOUGH

Listening to Summer

Written By: Terry Kitchen

Citronella candle, screened in back porch
The kids are chasing fireflies, racing back and forth
Dad's got the Phillies on, they're losing of course
Somewhere there's an ice cream truck comin'

Nightbird in the pines, practicing his call
Neighbor's oldies station playing through the wall
Brandy you're a fine girl to the rise and fall
of a thousand cicadas humming
as I'm sitting here listening to summer

Kids come in for freeze pops, refrigerator door slams
Phillies get a run, a cheer goes through the stands
Bullfrog down the creek is sayin' he's the man
as the moonlight makes the treetops shimmer

Cricket in the floorboard tells me 'bout his day
Moth on the screen says can I come in and play
There’s a freight train on the bridge from Jersey to PA
Rollin' like distant thunder
as I'm sitting here listening to summer

Our lives are nothing special, we're certainly not rich
But it's enough to have nights like this

Ballgame is over, kids are safe in bed
Find their peanut butter jar where it's always hid
Tell the fireflies they're free as I unscrew the lid
and watch their tail lights flicker

Wind's coming up, there's a rustling of leaves
Cricket in the floorboard stops rubbing his knees
Blow out the candle, feel the cool of the breeze
As the first drops of rain start drumming
as I'm sitting here listening to summer
Listening to summer

Heaven Here On Earth

Written By: Terry Kitchen

I don't know if there's a god up in heaven
I don't know where we go when we die
All I know is I'm here and I'm grateful
For each day that I'm alive

I look around and I see so much beauty
Everywhere I turn
And each new day I'm reminded
How much there is to learn

Here is the faith that I carry
In my heart for what it's worth
We don't have to wait for heaven
We've got heaven here on earth

Each blade of grass is important
And depends on each drop of rain
And each one of us has our story
But yet we are all the same

We all want what's best for our children
We all need the comfort of friends
We all need to trust through the winter
That spring will come again

So here is the faith that I carry
In my heart for what it's worth
We don't have to wait for heaven
We've got heaven here on earth
We've got heaven here on earth

The Seven Eleven Overture

Written By: Terry Kitchen

It's Saturday night, the last one of the summer
The kids are out in force to make it count
The boys have spent all week polishing their fenders
To catch the lights as they drive through town

The girls are all decked out in tube tops and mascara
And those sandals with the six inch spikes
They wiggle like women but they giggle just like children
When the boys pull up to offer them rides

And standing at the corner of North Main and West Main Cross
Is the palace where everyone eventually gets off
To stock up for a long hot night

Here behind the counter of this Seven-Eleven
All night long I watch them come and go
See the parties in the parking lot
The young blood running fast and hot
If only it could ever be so
Soon enough they'll know

Coming through the walls is the growl of revving engines
The squeal of tires when the light has changed
The first one to Maple is the king of the world
Or at least the king of three blocks of North Main

Later they'll be parking out at the reservoir
The boys all working hard to close the deal
The girls will all be thinking does he really love me
Or does he only love the way it feels

And back out on the strip the loners and the losers
The freaks and the geeks, the stoners and the boozers
Are circling like moths to the light

Here behind the counter of this Seven-Eleven
All night long I watch them come and go
See the fistfights in the parking lot
The young blood running fast and hot
If only it could ever be so
Soon enough they'll know

Tomorrow is Sunday, the kids will all be kneeling
Dreaming of the night before
Jesus if you love me don't let her be pregnant
Please God can I do that some more

And the empty candy wrappers will be dancing in the breeze
While the front page of the paper says more troops killed overseas
And the sunshine is painfully bright

Here behind the counter of this Seven-Eleven
All day long I watch them come and go
Smell the pot smoke from the parking lot
The young blood running fast and hot
If only it could ever be so
I don't want to be the one to tell them
Soon enough they'll know

BE A MAN ABOUT IT

Written By: TERRY KITCHEN

DOWN BY ONE, TWO OUT, TWO STRIKES
LITTLE BOY SWINGS WITH ALL HIS MIGHT
HANGS HIS HEAD AS THE OTHER SIDE CHEERS
HIS EYES FILLING UP WITH TEARS
FATHER WALKS DOWN FROM THE STANDS
SAYS MAKE ME PROUD, SON,
BE A MAN

BE A MAN ABOUT IT
KEEP THAT BACKBONE STRAIGHT AND TALL
KEEP THOSE EYES WIDE OPEN
IF IT HURTS DON'T LET IT SHOW
'CAUSE THIS WORLD DON'T GIVE A DAMN
SO HOLD IT IN IF YOU CAN
BE A MAN

YEARS OF PRACTICE, HE'S LEARNED TO BE TOUGH
BUT JUST ONE LOOK AND HE'S IN LOVE
SHE ALWAYS WONDERS WHY HE NEVER TALKS
AND IF SHE PUSHES HE JUST WALKS
SHE SAYS I'M LONELY LET ME IN
BUT THAT CODE OF SILENCE BREAKS HER HEART AGAIN

'CAUSE HE'LL BE A MAN ABOUT IT
KEEP THAT BACKBONE STRAIGHT AND TALL
KEEP THOSE EYES WIDE OPEN
IF IT HURTS DON'T LET IT SHOW
THIS WORLD DON'T GIVE A DAMN
SO HOLD IT IN IF YOU CAN
BE A MAN

THE NIGHT SHE FINALLY LEAVES HIM THE DAM BEGINS TO BREAK
AND HE FEELS JUST LIKE THAT LITTLE BOY CRYIN' AT HOME PLATE
ALL THOSE YEARS HE WORKED SO HARD TO LOCK IT ALL AWAY
JUST AIN’T WORTH IT
YEAH STARTING TODAY HE’LL

BE A MAN ABOUT IT
SAY THE THINGS HE KEPT INSIDE
LET THOSE WALLS COME TUMBLIN'
PUT HIS HEART BEFORE HIS PRIDE
LET HER KNOW HE GIVES A DAMN
LET IT OUT, THAT'S THE PLAN
BE A MAN

HER PHONE RINGS, HEY IT'S ME
DID I EVER TELL YOU 'BOUT THIS TIME IN LITTLE LEAGUE?

If I Were Your Guitar

Written By: Terry Kitchen

IF I WERE YOUR GUITAR

If I were your guitar
You'd hold me in your arms
and brush me with your fingers
And I would feel your heart
As you pressed your breast against me with every note you sing
And we'd make such beautiful music
And every song would be a song of love
And every night you'd play me for hours and hours
until the rising sun
had kissed the morning star
If I were your guitar

If I were your guitar
I would hear you whisper your deepest darkest secrets
And I would cross my heart
Whatever's locked inside I would help you free it
As we made our beautiful music
And every song we played would lift you higher
I would be your friend and brother, confessor and your lover
until my wood and wire
had filled the empty dark
If I was your guitar

And we'd make such beautiful music
And every song we sang would end too soon
And every night you'd play me and never get tired
until the fading moon
had kissed the morning star
If I were your guitar
If I were your guitar

SNOWFLAKES

Written By: Terry Kitchen

I WAS STARING OUT THE WINDOW
IGNORING MY COFFEE
WATCHING THE SNOWFLAKES COMING DOWN
I'D READ IN THE PAPER
WAS A FUNERAL THIS MORNING
FOR A GIRL I’D ALWAYS SEEN AROUND
IN SCHOOL SHE WAS A LONER THEY WOULDN'T LEAVE ALONE
SHE GOT PICKED ON FOR HER SHYNESS AND HER CLOTHES
GUESS IT GOT TO BE TOO MUCH
AND THE ONLY WAY OUT
WAS WITH AN OVERDOSE
I JUST STARED OUT THE WINDOW
AND SHOOK MY HEAD
AND I THOUGHT

WHY CAN'T WE BE LIKE SNOWFLAKES
EACH ONE A LITTLE DIFFERENT
AND NO ONE EVER SAYS THIS ONE'S BETTER THAT THE REST
WE ARE ALL MADE UP IN HEAVEN
DRIFT DOWN TO THIS EARTH
HAVE OUR MOMENT THEN MELT INTO THE GROUND
EACH ONE OF US AS BEAUTIFUL
AS THE SNOWFLAKES FALLING DOWN

I GOT MY SUNDAY COAT
STOPPED TO BUY A FLOWER
DROVE OUT TO THE LAWN BEHIND THE CHURCH
THERE WEREN'T VERY MANY
WHO STOOD THERE AND SHIVERED
AS THE PREACHER SAID HIS WORDS
I MOSTLY TUNED HIM OUT
AS I LOOKED AROUND THE FIELDS
ALL COVERED IN NEW FALLEN SNOW
AND I SAID THIS PRAYER

WHY CAN’T WE BE LIKE SNOWFLAKES
EACH ONE A LITTLE DIFFERENT
AND NO ONE EVER SAYS THIS ONE'S BETTER THAT THE REST
WE ARE ALL MADE UP IN HEAVEN
DRIFT DOWN TO THIS EARTH
HAVE OUR MOMENT THEN MELT INTO THE GROUND
EACH ONE OF US AS BEAUTIFUL
AS THE SNOWFLAKES FALLING DOWN

OH WHY CAN'T WE BE LIKE SNOWFLAKES
EACH ONE A LITTLE DIFFERENT
AND NO ONE EVER SAYS THIS ONE'S BETTER THAT THE REST
WE ARE ALL MADE UP IN HEAVEN
DRIFT DOWN TO THIS EARTH
HAVE OUR MOMENT THEN MELT INTO THE GROUND
EACH ONE OF US AS BEAUTIFUL
AS THE SNOWFLAKES FALLING DOWN
EACH ONE OF US AS BEAUTIFUL
AS THE SNOWFLAKES FALLING DOWN

BUILD A BRIDGE FROM BOTH SIDES

Written By: Terry Kitchen

Build a bridge from both sides to reach across the river
Build a bridge from both sides and we'll meet in the middle
It's the only way across when the water is wide
So build a bridge from both sides

It's easy to miss what we have in common
When we're focused on how we disagree
We can argue wrong or right all day and half the night
And still end up far apart as the sea

But build a bridge from both sides to reach across the river
Build a bridge from both sides and we'll meet in the middle
It's the only way across when the water is wide
So build a bridge from both sides

In a world that keeps moving faster
The old must make way for the new
On the strength of the young, great changes will come
Won't you help us to trust them when they do

And build a bridge from both sides to reach across the river
Build a bridge from both sides and we'll meet in the middle
It's the only way across when the water is wide
So build a bridge from both sides

And when that bridge is built we'll go walking back and forth
From my side to yours

It's the only way across when the water is wide
So build a bridge from both sides
It's the only to make it across the great divide
So build a bridge from both sides
Build a bridge from both sides

RAINBOW (IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT)

Written By: Terry Kitchen

under a lightbulb in maycomb alabama
lawyer keeps a vigil in the middle of the night
inside in a jail cell his client lies waiting
colored man accused of raping a woman who is white
four dusty cars pull up to the jail house
the men smell of whiskey, their collars buttoned tight
they say is he in there, you know what we'e here for
the lawyer folds his paper but he doesn't move aside
when out of the shadows runs a barefoot girl
to stand with her father against a world gone mad

sometimes it takes a child to remind us
how prejudice and hate and fear can blind us
to only see the world in black and white
when it's a rainbow
even in the middle of the night

girl looks around the stone hard faces
finally she sees one she just might recognize
she says i go to school with your son walter
we had him home for dinner, he was real polite
and thank you for the hickory nuts you gave us last summer
i hope you’re all caught up with payin' off my dad
that’s when she noticed no one else was talkin'
she feels them all starin', what's that matter she asks
then that stone hard man leans down on one knee
says i'll tell walter hey then turns to leave and they all follow

sometimes it takes a child to remind us...

and somehow in the lifetime of that barefoot girl
a black man will be president so don't tell me this world will never change

sometimes it takes a child to remind us...

Love You Too Soon

Written By: Terry Kitchen

i went electric at newport
i said "macbeth" at the old vic
i carved my initials in the lincoln bedroom
i said i love you too soon

i crashed the gate at graceland
i hit picasso with a brick
i let the air out of a thousand red balloons
i said i love you too soon

i stopped time just like einstein
made the rivers flow upstream
i made us realize we were naked
just like adam and eve

i stole a mango from the garden
i poked a kitten with a stick
snatched the bow from paganini in the middle of his tune
i said i love you too soon
i knocked the smiling buddha clear across the moon
i said i love you too soon
i said i love you too soon

Discography

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

Set List

Sets are largely drawn from the songs on my CDs (and new and unrecorded songs) with some fun and unexpected cover material.