Will King
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Will King

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Folk Acoustic

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"Will King - Come on in from the Cold"

"When the music is playing one quickly gets the feeling of being on the scent of something large. Or more correctly: something that in the course of time can stay large. Come on in from the Cold is an honest round americana with many fine moments..." - Mikael Døring, Geiger magazine [Denmark].
- Geiger - Denmark


"Come on in from the Cold - Review"

08/01/07
—by Noah Ruede

Most music you find on the radio nowadays is generic and boring, not only in the music and in structure but also in its lyrical content. If you happen to have a folk or Americana station in your area, you’re in luck. People like Will King will keep you from losing all hope.

Come on in from the Cold wanders through a diverse range of themes, traveling through many scenarios that we all encounter at one point or another. He wanders everywhere from near death to rejoice, from abandonment to anger and betrayal to true happiness. It’s one thing to be able to put such themes into words. Putting them into music, however, is a totally different animal. King does both, and with the help of some guest appearances throughout the album, he puts together a complex mishmash of feelings comparable to that of life itself.

In a Word: Journey

- The Aquarian Weekly - New Jersey


"Singer's work infused with civil rights themes"

By John W. Barry

While attending the State University of New York at New Paltz years ago, I piled into a car with friends and strangers and headed to Madison Square Garden for a concert.

One of those in the car was Will King, and for the life of me, I can't remember if he was a friend or stranger. I got separated from everyone and got my bearings back at a fast food restaurant near The Garden. Out of the roughly 20,000 people leaving The Garden and millions in New York City, I bumped into King in the restaurant line.

I was reminded of that night in March, when I bumped into King in the lobby of the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill during a concert. I knew King was a musician and had become a writer, but was impressed to hear that he was releasing a CD.

He sent me a copy of "Come on in from the Cold" and we spoke recently on the phone. The CD offers something new, fresh and different. There are no cliches and it is heavy on atmosphere. My analogy - Eddie Vedder sings Woody Guthrie.

Lived in New Paltz

King lived in New Paltz from 1991 to 1999. He played in the band Melange and managed Cabaloosa, a bar on Main Street, booking such acts as former Grateful Dead vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux and the late Band bass player Rick Danko.

His fondest memories of those days include learning the Band song "The Shape I'm In" from Danko and hearing Richie Havens talk about Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.

In addition to offering some fresh music with an edge, "Come on in from the Cold" features appearances by Grammy-nominated musician John Cohen from The New Lost City Ramblers; John Ventimiglia, who played Artie on "The Sopranos"; drummer Doug Yowell, who has played with Suzanne Vega; bassist Saul Zonana, who has played with Ace Frehley of Kiss; and King's wife, Rita, who is a vocalist, grew up playing the saxophone and is currently writing a memoir, research for which recently brought her and King to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., a civil rights landmark.

That trip inspired King, who lives in Westchester, to write and record "Edmund Pettus Bridge (How Long, Not Long)." Aaron Comess, a member of the Spin Doctors, a band I listened to a lot while living in New Paltz, performs on "Edmund Pettus."

King is using this song to raise money for the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development Pathways to Freedom program and The National Voting Rights Museum. The Institute's president emeritus and founder of the Pathways to Freedom program joined the Kings on their trip.

Tonight, King will perform "Edmund Pettus Bridge" at a Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute event in Detroit. The performance will mark the return of a group of Michigan high school students, who took a trip to the South to learn about African-American history and the civil rights movement.

As King plays in Detroit tonight, I'll simply wait for the next time the two of us bump into each other.


- The Poughkeepsie Journal


"King comes in with a message for you"

A while back, I got a lead on an artist named Will King. I was invited to check out his new CD, "Come on in from the Cold." It was posted on a local website.

Cool title in the blistering dog days of summer. So, I did.

What I found was an almost hypnotic blend of music. Like a slowly unfolding daydream. Hard to pigeonhole. If you took Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke and John Fahey, and crafted a jigsaw, you'd be close.

I admit being unfamiliar with Will, but he has pedigree. Co-founder of the group Melange, which mixed jazz and blues with psychedelic rock, King opted out in the late 1990s and decided on a solo career. Something of a later bloomer (he says he didn't learn how to play guitar until he was 19), King has an appreciation of eastern music and favors a six string T. Haruo acoustic guitar. The tone and fullness of sound is extraordinary. You'd think he was double tracking and overdubbing all over the place. He isn't. The stunning instrumental,
"One Thousand Birds," was done in one take.

The press kit describes "Come on in from the Cold" as something of a concept album, but King says it deals more with the cycles of life. "There are many different characters on this album and they all seem to be searching for
something or somebody. I see songs like short stories. Often, I simply act as a conduit. If there is a message, it is to be true to yourself regardless of the consequences. And as we all know, there are consequences in this life."

King doesn’t preach, but he does encourage one to think. He is quite specific when it comes to what he wants to convey on his album. " ‘Kyoto’ is taking a hard line against horrible environmental practices, and ‘Venetian Blind’
tells the story of an old man who can’t let go while ‘I.O.U.’ condemns those who abuse power for personal gain," he says.

Guests include John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers on mandolin on the title track, and John Ventimiglia (Artie Bracco on "The Sopranos") who has a
spoken narrative on "28 Days." Supporting musicians include Doug Yowell (Suzanne Vega) on drums, Saul Zonana (Ace Frehley of Kiss) on bass and the breathlessly beautiful backing vox of King’s wife, RJ.

Will views life as a continuum and approaches his music that way. "Birth and death are bookends. We all unfold in different ways and at different times.
If one of these songs resonates with a listener and allows him or her to look a bit differently at life then I’m grateful."

There’s a lot to kick around here. At 35, King sees himself as just starting to come into his own. When asked whether he considers himself more a singer/songwriter or a guitarist, he had to smile.

"I began playing guitar late, at the age of 19 while attending college. At the time, most of my friends played guitar and I quickly realized that if I wanted to be active, I needed to learn. With the help of a few friends, I learned
some chords and practiced like crazy, sometimes five or six hours a day. By 21 I was writing my own music. As I’ve gotten older, I do feel more like a singer-songwriter because I really enjoy encapsulating a story within music. But I also like to leave words behind and go deep musically; so my recordings and gigs, I think, show my varied approaches and interests."

King likes the richness of the open tunings his T. Hauro guitar allows. "I simply love the fullness and also, I often feel in uncharted territory which is refreshing. I find my songwriting is at times more liberated in this format.
It allows me to connect with a middle-eastern vibe which I really enjoy pursuing."

King is well versed in the classics. "I grew up listening to classic rock preferring San Francisco [Bay Area] and British rock. For awhile it was heavy
doses of the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin. Then, of course, you need more. I began listening to more acoustic singer songwriters like Cat Stevens, George
Harrison, Tom Waits, Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen and just so many others. Miles Davis had a big impact on me as well."

But he wasn’t listening just for fun.

"From some artists you learn about chord progression and melody while others teach you about lyrics and phrasings, some do both with ease. The Beatles are a standard from which most, if not all, contemporary American music is based. They were influenced by Dylan; Dylan was influenced by them and I along with scores of others have been influenced by their collective legacy. However,
since everything builds upon itself, we are all feeding off guys like [blues legend] Robert Johnson and Mozart."

That’s pretty heady company. But King’s CD player will find everything from rock to glam to funk. "I find myself gravitating to bands and songwriters somewhat off the beaten path and it changes all the time. M. Ward I like; Ryan
Adams and his incarnations are intriguing; anything with Lucinda Williams is always a bonus. If it has depth and soul, I generally like it. In our house, it can go from Nine Inch Nails to Polyphonic Spree to Ravi Shankar or War."

King shared a moment that was keen for him, opening for folk legend Richie Havens. Anyone who has seem the film "Woodstock" can immediately recall Havens’
sweat-soaked rendition of "Freedom," bringing the arriving audience to a frenzy as the stage was literally being built around him. "He continues to inspire
me. His voice is something else, getting better with age. I’ve learned a few things from his approach. "

Ensconced in his native New York, King looks down the road and sees nothing but horizon. "I just returned from doing a gig in Muskegon, Michigan. I was
asked to perform a song I wrote after the release of my album called ‘Edmund Pettus Bridge How Long, Not Long.’ The song tells the story of ‘Bloody Sunday’ and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

And there is more to the story. King continues: "I accompanied my wife on a trip this past April which was basically a Civil Rights quest. We, along with a representative from the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, visited historic sites throughout the region [Georgia, Alabama, etc.]. When we arrived in Selma, Ala., I was struck by what I learned and experienced. A song began percolating. In May, I went in to the studio with drummer Aaron
Comess (Spin Doctors) to record the tune, which has taken on a life of its own. In October, I will perform the song at the United Nations in conjunction with a
Rosa Parks event. "

That’s music with a message. King is looking forward to upcoming concert dates in New York State and Connecticut, and is considering a concert tour in Europe.

"Come on in from the Cold" is not a CD to simply pop in the player and let go. You need to spend some time with it, let it permeate, appreciate its intricacies and the message behind the music. It is one of the more intellectual
offerings I have heard in quite some time. Check it out at www.willkingmusic.com.

With any luck, he’ll be heading our way soon.
- by Chuck Waters


Discography

Come on in from the Cold [2007]
Melange [Self titled, 1997]

Photos

Bio

After touring and recording throughout the mid-to-late 1990s with Melange and other acts, Will King began writing and performing as a solo artist. Throughout his career, he has played in clubs and theatres from coast to coast. His new album, Come on in from the Cold, underscores King's appreciation for various forms of music that funnel into a genre best described as Americana. With comparisons to artists like Cat Stevens, Jorma and Leonard Cohen, King's music is moody, thought provoking and rife with hooks and melodies. His lyrics are poignant and far-reaching.

Come on in from the Cold is in many respects a concept album that takes the listener from death's door step [Come on in from the Cold] to a sense of sustained celebration [Polka Dot Dresses, Red Lipstick and White Wine]. The tracks in-between find characters dealing with abuse, discovery, death, defiance and enlightenment. And while certain characters fare better than others; King has created dimensions for the listener to visit [Johnny McPhee, Venetian Blind, and Lenny]. A triumph spirit emerges [Seeing Just Fine, Flow, 28 Days] that is watered down by habit and circumstance [I Won't Give Up].

True liberation is realized [One Thousand Birds] and environmental woes are pondered [Kyoto] while those abusing authority are condemned [I.O.U.]. King paints interesting scenarios with this collection of music but encourages the listener to employ their respective color palette which ultimately makes Come on in from the Cold a collective experience.

On May 25th, 2007 King entered the studio with drummer/percussionist Aaron Comess [The Spin Doctors] to record Edmund Pettus Bridge [How Long, Not Long], a song derived from a recent Civil Rights throughout the Deep South.

The journey took him from Atlanta to Montgomery to Selma to Birmingham as well as interesting points in-between. The song, based on the events of "Bloody Sunday" and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, will be used as a fundraiser for the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development Pathways to Freedom program. Lila Cabbil, the Institute's president emeritus and founder of the Pathways to Freedom program, joined King on the quest. Lila, a new friend, provided insight, context and knowledge.

King first performed the song in June, 2007 while opening up for Richie Havens at Rock on for Rights. He then performed the song August 3rd at the 19th Anniversary of the Institute's Pathways to Freedom program in Michigan. On October 24th, 2007 King performed the song at an Rosa Parks Peace Summit/fundraiser event in conjunction with the United Nations. The song has since been played at many related fund raising events.

Please click/paste this link to hear: Edmund Pettus Bridge [How Long, Not Long]

http://wwwwillkingmusic.com/Pathways_to_Freedom.html

Will King is currently writing material for a forthcoming album. For more information, please visit www.willkingmusic.com