Korby Lenker, singer/songwriter and Western Washington University Alumnus, returns to campus to sing about wandering out too far, coming closer, and being bored in the winter.
On March 14 Korby Lenker will perform in the Underground Coffeehouse with the opening band Dashel Schueler as part of the Underground Coffeehouse concert series presented by ASP Underground Coffeehouse.
Lenker graduated from Western Washington University in 2000 studying music theory, performing with the Barded Wire Cutters, and working on solo projects. In 2005, he won second place in the Chris Austin Songwriting contest at Merlefest and traveled around the United Kingdom. In 2006, he performed at Sasquatch and Bumbershoot in 2006.
After graduating, Lenker remained in Bellingham. Two and a half years ago he moved to Seattle. For the last six to eight months though, he’s been traveling back and forth between Nashville, Tennessee and Seattle. Currently, he is in the midst of re-locating to Nashville because of the music scene and the friendships he has developed there.
“The Pacific Northwest is my home and it always will be,” said Lenker. “I’m going to miss it, but at the same time I’m really excited to be doing something crazy and a little bit daring. On the other hand, I don’t feel like it’s going to change a whole lot.”
Lenker’s musical style greatly varies depending on the album. Two of his albums, namely Bellingham and David Goliath’s Old Time Gospel Hour, are heavily bluegrass influenced. His 2006 release, King of Hearts, strays from that good old raw sound of bluegrass and plays to a more mature, somewhat pop, rock listening crowd with softly sung vocals. Every live show has some bluegrass, Lenker promises, so although some fans may have been taken aback when King of Hearts was released bluegrass music is still always a part of him.
Lenker says that his fifth solo album, expecting release later in the year, will send listeners in a new direction again. He speculates the material will be more of a hybrid between rock and acoustic.
“Whoever I’m playing with at the time influences my writing,” said Lenker. “There will be drums though. King of Hearts was the first album I had drums on, and that sort of blew some fans out of the water.”
When Lenker finds the time to write, whether on a plane or in a car, he draws upon influences such as Todd Snider, Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, Bill Frissel and people he plays with.
In regards to his writing style, Lenker reflects how his personal style of writing has evolved over the course of his albums.
“I’ve always written songs, probably like a lot of people like me, about the girl that you’re dating or the girl you want to date or the girl you just broke up with; I’ve been doing that for a long time,” said Lenker. “The King of Hearts record is really written about somebody and there’s a lot of sad songs on that record. I’m kind of sick of writing sad songs frankly. I’ve written a bunch of them. I love writing sad songs, but I’m kind of over it for a moment. I’m enjoying writing out of this place that’s not dejected.”
Lenker’s future show dates include an appearance at South by Southwest, an Austin, Texas music festival on March 16 and at Chop Suey in Seattle on March 17.
“It’s always fun performing at Western,” said Lenker. “I really love Western’s campus. I have a lot of happy memories there.”
Check out korbylenker.com or myspace.com/korbymusic for more information and sound clips of the artist.