Arguably the hardest working musician in the Rock Hall City, the Wisconsin native is not only a solo musician but also plays with his band the Lost Fortunes, fronts the Jack Fords and performs with Hey Mavis. If that wasn’t enough, he leads the monthly revival of Gram Parsons with his band The New Soft Shoe, and also plays drums for the Cleveland holiday band the Ohio City Singers.
As for his upcoming debut at Port Clinton’s hidden gem of a club, Kirby said he’ll be playing material from his entire career. In fact, he’s champing at the bit to get into the intimate venue.
Want to go?
WHAT: Brent Kirby at The Listening Room
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, May 17 & 18
WHERE: The Listening Room (located inside the OurGuest Inn & Suites), 220 East Perry St., Port Clinton
COST: Free (two drink minimum)
Funcoast: So how did you end up with a gig at The Listening Room?
Brent Kirby: There were some supporters of mine who had been there to see Will Hoge play. They came back and said I should play there. So I called them up and they were interested in getting some dates down.
Funcoast: From what you hear about the venue, why do you think it’ll be a good fit with your music?
Brent Kirby: That room is an opportunity to tell some stories and talk about the songs in a very intimate listening room. I’ve heard the shows there can be pin-drop quiet and that’s kind of where I feel like I can shine a little bit more than other places. I’m not a complicated guitar player or anything like that. I’m a songwriter, so the song is dependent more on the lyrics than it is what I’m doing on the guitar, and those kind of situations in a listening room like that lend itself to that a little bit more. The thing that’s cool is there is no opening act. It’s just you and 90 minutes or however long you want to make it. To me, I’m looking at this like, “Boy, I can do a lot of stretching and do a lot different songs that I don’t normally do.”
Funcoast: Regarding the many hats you’re currently wearing, what’s new in Brent Kirby’s musical world?
Brent Kirby: Hey Mavis is a band from Akron. We put out a CD in February. I’m also working on a solo record that’s like an acoustic duo record with Al Moss. It’s pedal steel. That should be out in a few months and then the Jack Fords are still working on our record. It’ll be out by September. And I have a new single release and a video to go with it coming out next week.
Funcoast: Tell us about this new single.
Brent Kirby: It’s for a record later in the year. It’s called “Better Days.” It’s maybe Tom Petty-ish or something. I think I’ve evolved in the fact that I was kind of in the country-Americana-folk kind of place. And I still am. There’s always going to be a foot in there because of my influences. What’s coming out now is the combination of both those two together presented as one thing, so there’s definitely an influence of the rock and the pop kind of stuff mixed with that Americana folk stuff. The Hey Mavis influence is a good influence. I’m writing a bunch of tunes for them with a folk aspect like Mumford & Sons.
Funcoast: Well, it sounds like The Listening Room will be a perfect fit for your style.
Brent Kirby: I hope so. Yeah, it should be good.