Growing up during a time when mainstream radio could still show love to throwbacks, Kyle Park was soaking up the tunes of Roger Miller, Merle Haggard, George Jones and the list goes on. It was his Dad that introduced him to classic country, the lyrically driven storytelling of Opry legends that would eventually help mold him into the artist that he is today.
After the loss of his dad in 1998, Kyle found healing in country music. He picked up a guitar at the age of 14 and never looked back, with his first paid gig coming one year later. At the time, he couldn’t see far enough down the road to realize that he was beginning a career as a singer/songwriter.
“I was really only focusing on playing country music. That’s all I wanted to do at the time, and all the time. I made my first record simply because I wanted to record the songs I had written. I hadn’t grasped that this was ever going to take me where it has, on an indescribable musical journey.”
By the time he had released his debut album (‘Big Time’) in 2005 at the age of 20, Kyle was performing hour-long shows with more than fifty-percent of his own music. Coming a long way from performing for his family in the backyard, this young man from Leander (north of Austin) was quickly becoming one of the hottest names in the Texas country music scene.
Thirteen years into his professional career, Kyle and his band have played in more than five countries, playing shows from Alaska to Germany, and frequenting more than a dozen states on a regular basis.
He’s impressively had seven #1 singles on the Texas Regional Radio Report (TRRR) and eleven singles on the Texas Music Chart’s Top 10. His limited edition ‘Fall EP’ (now part of the “Make or Break Me full-length album) peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers South Central list. Kyle’s reaped consistent national press coverage from CMT, TCN (The Country Network), Taste of Country, Country Weekly, All Music, Guitar World and more. He was direct support for numerous notable and legendary artists including George Strait, Clint Black, Mark Chestnutt, Gary Allan and more. So, where do you go from here? Back where you came from! Kyle’s latest project, his sixth studio album Don’t Forget Where You Come From leans exactly in the direction you would expect.
Inspired by the style of music he grew up listening to, this new album is a return to Kyle’s signature neo-traditional country sound brimming with honkytonk-fueled fiddle, pedal steel and searing guitar riffs punctuated by his most honest and contemplative lyrics to date.
Don’t Forget Where You Come From is Kyle’s reaffirmation record, focusing back on the storytelling side of country music.
“I believe that this record carries more meaning and much better stories than anything else I’ve released. It’s a storytelling album, what I believe country music is and has always been: lyrics first.”
Recorded in Austin at Ray Benson’s Bismeaux Studio, Don’t Forget Where You Come From was produced by Park and boasts nine original tracks written or co-written by Park, along with one cover tune.
Kyle has worked hard to develop himself as a writer and a producer, making regular trips to Nashville for writing sessions and producing music for other artists as well as his own. Even though this newest release is Kyle’s way of bringing things full-circle, we can’t expect any signs of things slowing down.
“I’m a “lifer.” I was fortunate enough to find my passion very early in life.”
With six records under his belt, it’s safe to say that there is plenty more to come down the road.
Many of you may have seen her at the Block Party last summer, she put on an awesome show and we are excited to have her back!
The first thing that gets you about country singer Kimberly Dunn is her friendly and spunky personality. Then, when she starts strumming her guitar and singing in a country voice both tender and powerful, you’re hooked.
That’s what happened to Scott Willson and Will Harrison of Up and Out Artists in November 2010. The managers met San Antonio native Dunn backstage at a Battle of the Bands contest at Texas A&M, where Dunn was a senior.
“We had a great talk about music,” says Dunn, who had played alto sax in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, but longed for a career singing her own songs. Harrison remembers thinking that “if her music has as much charisma as she does personally, she’ll really have something.”
The only solo acoustic contestant out of 30 acts in the Battle, Dunn walked onstage with confidence, kicked off her high heels with a laugh and started into a guitar riff, as she stomped out a rhythm on the stage’s hollow floor. It was only her fourth live performance as a singer-songwriter (the first three were the preliminary rounds) and yet Dunn had an instant hold on the audience. She ended up winning the contest.
“We knew from the first downbeat that we wanted to get involved with Kimberly,” says Harrison, who also works as an engineer at Ray Benson’s Bismeaux Recording Studio in Austin. Dunn recorded her debut EP, One Foot Over The Other, at Bismeaux, with Harrison producing.
Everything seems to be happening fast, but it’s going according to a plan Dunn conceived while attending Northside Health Careers High School, a magnet school in San Antonio. Dunn wanted to be a veterinarian at a young age, but after seeing Eric Johnson in concert when she was 13, and buying a guitar the next day, she switched her long-term goal to a music career.
“I decided that I would concentrate on graduating from A&M where her parents and two sisters also attended, and then I would spend the next years pursuing music full time.” Dunn graduated August 14, her 23rd birthday, with a degree in agricultural leadership and a minor in music, and is ready to make her mark on Texas Country.
Her calling card to the male-dominated scene, which some call “red dirt music,” is a bittersweet yet feisty song about the healing powers of music called “Randy Rogers.” In it, Dunn looks back on a romance gone sour and recalls the music of that once-blissful time. Besides Rogers, others mentioned in the catchy chorus include Eli Young Band, Granger Smith and Stoney LaRue.