It seems a reputation like that of superstar Clint Black’s would overshadow the efforts of many siblings, but not so with singer/songwriter Kevin Black who proves over and over that he can “hold his own” in the music business.
From the time he was eight, performing Elvis classics for anyone willing to lend an ear, Kevin has been musically attuned to what people want to hear—leaving behind the demands and confines of major record labels for the personal satisfaction of making his own kind of music.
Kevin makes it very clear, “What I enjoy doing is doing what I enjoy,” and admits that his determination to remain true to himself musically comes at a price. He says he’s been accused by record producers of having “no direction” and has been told that his music “lacks a common thread.” And yet, Kevin enjoys the success that comes with devoted fans and discerning listeners who appreciate an artist that can tackle any genre of music needed to satisfy their music palates.
Although creatively different, Clint recognizes his brother’s talent and says it was “bittersweet” when he succeeded in the business without having Kevin by his side. Clint began his career with The Full House Band– a band he credits Kevin with starting. The brothers played in small bars all over the Greater Houston area.
Clint says, “Really, we are suited to singing with each other… And when you hear us singing together it always feels like magic, like that great match you always hear about.”
The respect is mutual. Kevin says, without thinking twice, “Billy Joel and Clint Black are my two favorite songwriters of all time.”
You get a sense that regardless of whatever sibling rivalry could have been caused by Clint’s fame is set aside for a larger purpose: a healthy respect for each other’s individual talents and a desire to place family first.
Kevin’s latest record, “Kevin Black: Sold Out Live at the Dosey Doe,” proves that he has carved his own niche in the hearts of his fans. Eclectic throughout, the CD leaves no stone unturned; from the traditional Merle Haggard cover, “Today I Started Loving You Again,” to a bluesy rendition of “Walkin’ After Midnight,” this complex collection is a testament to Kevin’s strong vocal capabilities and impressive fret board talent.
Perhaps no songs are as powerful as those he penned personally. With complex lyrical content, Kevin’s songs introduce new fans to a man who has seen his share of life and has survived his share of heartache. In a powerful song about loving, losing and leaving, Kevin’s “I’m Letting Go” states, “Having the strength just to walk away/Is a weakness of mine/You know there’s gonna come a day/When I leave it all behind.”
In “That’s Life,” he asks, “Why does life always get its way/As if it were planned from the very first day?” Kevin jokes, “That’s a song I wrote for Don Henley. He’s never actually heard it, but I wrote it for him nevertheless,” proving he can quickly elevate a serious “mood” with a bit of levity– with one exception.
“A Tear for You” is written about the ultimate loss, the loss of his 16-year-old daughter, Cortney, due to complications of Rett syndrome (not to be confused with Tourette Syndrome), a rare, devastating neurological disorder affecting mostly girls. Kevin admits that performing the song is difficult and a certain amount of detachment is necessary to get through it.
“It’s not consciously on my mind the whole time leading up to the performance. There’s no emotion in the room connected to Rett syndrome …so I just get involved in it, sing it and don’t let my mind think about anything except getting through the lyrics.”
Since the loss of Cortney, both he and Clint have volunteered their time and talent to finding and funding a cure for the genetic disorder. On October 12, 13, 14 and 22, Kevin will host “Spending Time Ending Rett” –an annual fundraiser which benefits International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF). The event includes a golf tournament, a fishing tournament, a strollathon and a concert at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands, featuring Kevin and son Coleton, Gary P. Nunn, Jamie Richards.
Coleton, following the Black footsteps, has also set his sights on being successful in the music business. Being the son and nephew of successful musicians has its perks, but while Kevin makes sure that 20-year-old Coleton shares the stage, he also encourages independence and wants his sons to see it for what it can be—a hard life.
He feels both sons– twenty-three-year-old Marshall also aspires to be a musician–deserve their chance to make it big in the music industry, but knows the importance of honesty. Kevin says, “[They need] to go out there and find out what it’s really like to drive however far, load in, play, load out, go through all the good, the bad and the ugly that go with it. Then they can go home and ask themselves, ‘was it worth it?’”
When asked what he feels is his greatest accomplishment, Kevin never hesitates. “It would be the day that I put my kids on a bus for school, went to the airport, flew out and did a show, flew back and was home in time to do their homework with them;” and when it comes to success, his definition is quite different from what you might expect.
“When I’m gone, the judging factor of my success will be how well my boys turn out. That will be my biggest success in life.”
This year, Kevin has enjoyed a much-deserved career escalation, including his recent recording of Merle Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side of Me.” With devilish good looks, a mischievous grin that hints at a wicked sense of humor, and enough talent to successfully support his desire to blaze his own trail through the music business maze, Kevin Black is a force of his own to be reckoned with.
Ok, so you might purchase that first Kevin Black concert ticket to see the brother of Clint Black, but make no mistake, after that first concert experience, the next ticket you’ll buy to see Kevin Black will be because you want to see an artist talented enough to cast his own shadow.
To hear “Why Can’t I Get Over You” from Kevin’s “Dream On”–Why Can’t I Get Over You
Catch Kevin Black on Friday, December 7, at The Bugle Boy in La Grange, Texas.
Advance tickets recommended. Purchase online at thebugleboy.org
Categories: Artist Interviews, Connie Strong
Added by: connie