He plays the harp, the mandolin and the keyboard. He also plays guitar, banjo and the glockenspiel. Oh and he sings too. Kevin M. Kirker is a solo artist and his songs - some on MySpace, the rest downloadable for free on his website - are a new kind of beautiful. He's unsigned and as horrible as this sounds - he's so far ahead of anything in the industry right now, he might be unsigned for a very, very long time.
I'll explain. Of the songs I listened to, Kirker stays away from formulas. For example, the song 'People Grow From Trees' is soft and minimalistic. The harp and the guitar being the only instruments I can hear. The reflective and apologetic lyrics seem a little more powerful than they might have if the song had a more complex body of background sounds. Less is more when listening to Kirker - and it shows in all his songs.
Strong, poetic lyrics built to sustain metaphors and deeper meanings are like his trademark. In the lullaby-like love song 'One Billion Words' the last two stanza's so to speak, are the most memorable as one reads, so bury me with negatives and /i'll just use this/coffin as my /darkroom to develop photos/they must be in color so i'll/keep out the light or work only at night. There is a stream of consciousness style in 'That's My Way of Keeping Track of Time' which tells an endearing and fairly detailed story. I felt like I witnessed a plot twist at the end.
The-boyfriend-of-the-girl-with-the-estranged-father song, 'This Town Ain't Paris, France You Know' is one of two songs on his MySpace with a chorus... if you'd count two repeating lines inbetween every other stanza of lyrics as a 'chorus.' Which, yeah - it won't sit well with you if you aren't used to just endless singing, void of hooks and bridges and stuff.
The only thing that seemed off to me was how uniform Kirker's voice is in every song. It's strange, but it fits. Regardless of that, the industry machine wouldn't be able to appreciate Kirker and his intensely independent work. Hopefully, you'll be smarter than them and give this self-proclaimed 'King of Harpcore' a shot. This interview, despite being a year old, is extra helpful in finding out more about him.