Singer-songwriter Kevin Presbrey performs at Kathy's Pub
Singer-songwriter Kevin Presbrey transitioned from classics (Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues") to crowd pleasers (Sublime's "What I got") to folksy gems off his debut album during a stop at Kathy's Pub Saturday night.
The 33-year-old's first album was produced by Ryan Hadlock, who produced The Lumineers' self-titled debut album. The album featured the chart-topping hit "Ho Hey," and helped earn the band two Grammy Award nominations.
"It gives us inspiration that we could attain that success at some point if we keep on the same path that we're on, and try to really keep pushing the envelope," Presbrey told The Med City Beat.
Presbrey's 2013 EP Dust Unto Dust was written during a crossroads in Presbrey's life. His father, who he described as the closest person in his life, had recently died. He was also trying to transition back to his "acoustic roots" after spending several years in a touring rock band.
Presbrey said there were times he doubted himself, his music career and his songwriting. But rather than hiding from it, he used the experiences to write several songs on the first album, including favorites like "Good Man" and "Always With Me."
"I think trying to write things that are not honest doesn't service music," said Presbrey. "I'm just trying to put things out there that are real, that I felt and that other people probably went through."
Presbrey was joined by percussionist Danny Pratt, the same drummer on Dust Unto Dust.
Musical influences: Legendary artists like Jim Croce and Led Zeppelin to modern stars like John Mayer
Big fan of Ryan Adams: "It's hard to keep my interest for that long in music, and he's managed to do it because he keeps putting out good stuff. Even the latest album he just produced: good voice, good songs, good song content."
Working with Ryan Hadlock: "He really knows how to get the most out of an artist, but not in a pushy way. The entire process was very comfortable.
Number of songs on the first album: "Five is a good number now. I think doing a 14-song album is tough; you end up throwing stuff on there that you're not really confident in."
Playing intimate settings vs. bars: "We're playing all original music for 75 minutes, telling the stories behind the songs. You can really make a connection with people, and I don't think you can do that as easily in a public setting."
(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)