Java Blend
11:08 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Java Blend Broadcast: Korby Lenker 5/18/13

Tune in to this week's broadcast to catch the sweet and sometimes sulky tunes of Korby Lenker.
Tune in to this week's broadcast to catch the sweet and sometimes sulky tunes of Korby Lenker.
Credit Iowa Public Radio/Kendall McCabe

  This Saturday at 2 PM, IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer will host a special hour of "Java Blend" with Korby Lenker.

 

Ben Kieffer will chat with Korby throughout the show to find out more about the indie folk singer/songwriter's career.

In case you're not familiar, Korby Lenker is a sneaky-good songwriter. And singer. And multi-instrumentalist.

An abbreviated list of Lenker’s achievements so far includes: a significant amount of airplay on the legendary Seattle indie rock station KEXP; a BBC 2 interview with Bob Harris, which is only about the highest honor a rootsy singer-songwriter touring the U.K. can get; opening slots for acts ranging from Willie Nelson to Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, Keith Urban, Susan Tedeschi and Tristan Prettyman; a successful run with one of the hottest young West Coast bluegrass bands of the aughts; and wins in the Merlefest folk songwriting contest as well as the Kerrville Folk Festival’s elite New Folk songwriting competition.

Lenker’s composition “My Little Life” brought him the Kerrville honors this year. It doesn’t seem possible that one song could work so well in such disparate worlds, but it also proved its powers as a galvanizing piece of indie-pop, drawing a small army of like-minded, rising Nashville artists and personalities—Jeremy Lister and Katie Herzig to name two—to make lip-syncing, ukulele-strumming cameos in Lenker’s music video.  

The song—which is on the Heart of Gold EP he co-produced with A-list keyboardist Tim Lauer this year—itself points to the uncommon mixture of abilities Lenker has honed. It’s imminently accessible and effortlessly tuneful, plus the lyrics express a familiar idea in playfully unexpected ways while pointing to thoughtfulness just beneath the surface. You can tell the guy’s well-read, but he never comes off as too clever for his own good.

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