News Column

Fridays After 5 offers two-fer in final concert of 2014

August 9, 2014

By Chelsea Katz, Kilgore News Herald, Texas

Aug. 09--In the last Fridays After 5 concert of the summer, Daniel Foster and Levi Kitchen will take the Winter Elder stage to give a last toast to summer.

With Jessi -- the guitar, named after Jessi Colter -- by his side, Daniel Foster will bring his Johnny Cash-influenced music to Kilgore next Friday night.

Foster first picked up the guitar at age 28 after his late grandfather expressed his desire for him to play.

After learning to play the guitar and without a wife, kids or debt, he decided to pursue music, choosing to stay local instead of taking the cutthroat" Nashville route. "You're just a number (in Nashville)," he said.

Everyone has their own convictions, and, he said, he chose to stay in Texas and play at retirement communities, state schools and Veterans Affairs hospitals across the state.

"I do what I love every day," he said.

When schedules work, Foster gets his friend -- and local doctor -- Clark Langley to help him on stage on bass, harmonica and trumpet, maybe, he said. Although Foster is usually just accompanied by his guitar at his shows, he thought it would be nice to have Langley onstage with him.

"(He's) my brother in music," Foster said about Langley.

If it works, Foster would like to involve the entire Langley family onstage, including one of Foster's "prayer warriors" -- and Langley's wife -- Cristi.

The most important part of music is the spiritual aspect it brings, he said. "Either good or bad, it's a vehicle."

While his music has a Cash influence, he includes patriotism with it. "I'm a big fan of this country," he said.

Some people call Foster a rebel, but, he said, his response is "Thank God for the rebels of 1776."

With ancestors that stood up for their beliefs, Foster will hold the politics in check while onstage, but, he said, "I will ask people to acknowledge their heritage."

One of his favorite songs of perseverance is "Singer of Songs" that was written by Tim O'Connell and recorded by Cash.

After 20 years of trying to get Cash to record the song, he finally did, and the song ended up being the one played at Cash's funeral in 2003.

Foster will also perform some songs that he wrote, including one called "Secret of Life."

Along with stories behind the songs he will perform, Foster -- class clown all through middle and high school -- will bring a little bit of humor to the stage. It will not just be for the adults, though. Children of all ages in the audience will have the opportunity to join Foster and Langley onstage in "The Hokey Pokey."

One of the songs Foster has done is a cover of Woody Guthrie's best known song -- "This Land is Your Land." It never made the charts in the 1940s, but, Foster said, everyone knows it. Even people who do not know Woody Guthrie's name know his songs. Guthrie, who has been cited as an influence for Cash and other musicians, became known as a "musician to the people."

Foster brings something a little different to his performances, also, he said. Besides simply playing music, he talks to people and makes his performance a personal experience for the audience.

Some people have called Foster a musician of the people almost like the "Woody Guthrie of today."

"I will take that to the bank," he said, adding that Guthrie was able to change laws simply with his guitar. "Now that's a musician."

A group of 20-plus people will join Foster, Jessi and Langley on the stage at the World's Richest Acre to perform his version of "This Land is Your Land."

One of those two dozen people will be Levi Kitchen, who produced the track and will, also, perform directly after Foster downtown.

Also coming from an artistic family, Kitchen said, he has been playing music since he was about 10 years old and was always surrounded by it.

Kitchen brings a different type of music from what people will hear during Foster's set. All of the music is live, but it might not always seem like it at first listen.

"I layer different parts on top of each other, so I can make it sound like a full band, but it's just me doing all the different parts," he said.

Kitchen uses a loop station that, he admitted, sat idle after he first got it as a present from his brother. After finally starting to tinker with it a little, he realized he could use that one piece of equipment to create an entire show.

Although he has spent most of his career with a band, he said, a band can sometimes stray from the core of music. Instead of being presented as a "reflection of the soul" that comes through in the music, he said, it becomes more of a showcase of how fast someone can move their fingers or how hard someone can hit the drums.

With a loop station, also, though, he does not have to teach other people his music. As a songwriter, he said, "A big part of the struggle has always been to keep the band together and to train them to play everything right the way that it was written."

Although he can play many instruments, including guitar, drums, piano and trumpet, he said, much of what he performs as his oneman band is created with his mouth. He beat boxes some of the background beats as well as using his acoustic guitar for percussion.

Kitchen performs music from pop and rock to country and folk, all of which he can appreciate. In general, he gravitates toward rock, and especially the rock of the 1990s, but he said, he has expanded to include a wide mix of genres. After performing live for about 14 or 15 years, he said, "These days, I'll listen to anything because I'll enjoy any music that's well done."

One of his favorite parts of performing live, though, is performing his own songs. It can get aggravating, he said, to have to learn other artists' music to become successful. When he has people in the audience at a concert who know his music and can sing back to him, he said, that it is "probably one of the most fulfilling and exciting parts of being a musician to me."

The last Fridays After 5 concert will take place Friday, Aug. 15, and get a later start than the others. Instead of an 8 p.m. start, Foster will take the stage at 9 p.m. "after the sun has gone down and hopefully it will cool down a bit," Main Street Manager Melida Heien said. Kitchen's set will follow. "I'll just keep playing as long as there are people there to listen," he said.

Everyone is welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to relax under the derricks, Heien said, adding that glow necklaces will be handed out too.


(c)2014 the Kilgore News Herald (Kilgore, Texas)

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Source: Kilgore News Herald (TX)

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