Frisco musician Jeff Kingery releases an ode to summer
‘Summer Song’ is 6th album for guitarist, pianist and singer
Jeff Kingery is not your average musician. He plays guitar, piano and bass as well as often belting out notes in a high octave. And aside from chord charts, he can’t read music.
“I can sound like I know how I’m playing, but I’m not truly reading the music,” Kingery said. “… I don’t write anything down other than the lyrics. I just remember them.”
His newest album, “Summer Song,” follows up on 2015’s more acoustic “LifeSpan” with a return to form. Kingery got into music when he was 6, emulating his mom at the piano. The instrument of choice changed to an electric guitar when he was 10, and then he started singing in high school when he discovered others could play better than him. He performed as part of the band The Scrubz for a decade, releasing three CDs, opening for metal band Slaughter and — influenced by ’80s bands — he began to sing high with a voice some say is similar to Jon Bon Jovi or Geddy Lee.
“I don’t think that, but that’s just the era I learned to sing in,” Kingery said. “Maybe the influences of those bands came through in how I project my voice and the octaves that I sing in. … We had a lousy PA, so if I wanted to compete with a screaming guitar player, I had to project like crazy.”
Kingery isn’t a full-time musician — he earns a living with K2 Lending — and after many years off, he got back into music when he moved to Summit County from Littleton in 2014. He said he owes a lot to the open mics held by Ein Prosit and Moose Jaw in Frisco. Kingery doesn’t think he would have his 2015 and 2021 albums without them as a catalyst to spark his motivation.
“I was so nervous when I started playing there again,” Kingery said about Prosit. “I was starting over from ground zero. But through those open mics and gigs and shows, I got my confidence back and decided to start recording, playing live and doing shows. … It reopened a chapter I thought might have been gone.”
Prosit was also where he played his first live show in June 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic. Kingery got serious about the new album in 2019, but he said the pandemic helped him cross the finish line. He recorded, produced and mixed the album at his home studio, and he also brought in drummer Mike Rice and guitarist Kirby Velarde to collaborate and lend their talents. Though technically a solo act, Kingery credits the studio musicians for elevating the album.
“I might spend a year or two or three on a CD,” Kingery said. “(Velarde) comes in, and in about an hour or two, he does all of his parts in one take. He’s just on a different level.”
All of Kingery’s musical tools make an appearance in “Summer Song” — from the piano melody in the ballad “In a Hole” to the metal sound of “Jekyll and Hyde” to the upbeat dance track “Electric Eel.” Some songs were meant to be in the last album, like “Come For My Life” and “All I’ll Ever Be,” but he said the guitar solo in “In Spite of Yourself” came from the early weeks of isolation. He wanted a mix of tempos and styles to evoke, as the title implies, the type of record he grew up playing on repeat.
“It’s that feeling of driving around in your car with the windows down listening to an old album,” Kingery said.
While “Summer Song” has a heavier sound, Kingery can be found usually performing a mix of originals and classic covers around Summit County with his 12-string guitar. A CD release party is slated for 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Rocky Mountain Underground in Breckenridge, followed by another party at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at Tocko in Frisco with Trevor Carico. Kingery is also scheduled to perform Wednesday, Sept. 29, at Silverthorne’s Angry James Brewing Co. and Saturday, Oct. 23, at Frisco’s HighSide Brewing.
“Summer Song” came out digitally on platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and Amazon on Sept. 15 and released physically Sept. 17. It can be purchased for $12.97 at JeffKingery.com.
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