For the first time in 17 years, local singer songwriter Rick Kirkpatrick will perform his own original songs with his band during a special Paul Emery Presents performance tonight at the Nevada Theatre in downtown Nevada City.
The concert is a return to Kirkpatrick’s roots of writing, performing and recording his own tunes.
Kirkpatrick is a founding member of The Center for the Arts. For the past six years he has served as director of The 13, a junior high rock band program and he started Greenhouse School of Music. He is currently the music director at Bitney Charter High School.
For the last 14 years, Kirkpatrick taught private guitar and music lessons but took a break from writing his own music to raise his son and take care of his ailing father. Now, with his son grown, he has more time to devote to his creative endeavors.
“The time has been presented to me. I don’t have to take my son to soccer anymore,” he said.
The music played by Kirkpatrick and his band can loosely be called Americana, a cross of country, some bluegrass, and mostly rock.
“It’s basically a rock band,” he said.
Members of the band include: the “best drummer in the world” Mark McCartney (Achilles Wheel, Dead Beats), bassist Charlie Faber (Chillbillies), keyboardist Ben Gillespie, Margot Duxler on violin and Kimberly Bass singing harmony. Kirkpatrick sings and plays the guitar.
Special guest at tonight’s performance is Paul Cogley, a former Nevada City planner who now lives in New York. The concert is Cogley’s CD release performance for his newest recording, “American Hill.” Rick Kirkpatrick and band will act as Cogley’s back up band.
Part of Kirkpatrick’s motivation to return to songwriting came after attending a spring 2011 workshop led by Ray Wylie Hubbard and Kevin Welch in Wemberly, Texas.
“Ray is a great storyteller in the Texas tradition and Kevin is a great songwriter in the Nashville tradition. It stoked the fire back up and hit on the styles of American music that first excited me and continue to do so from Mississippi delta country blues to Robert Plant and Buddy Miller,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick added that he takes inspiration for his 11 new songs from the past 15 years of his life and of things going on in the world around him.
“It’s a progression. You get to come on a journey with me,” he said.
One song he co-wrote with a veteran who returned from fighting in Afghanistan and found songwriting as a way to cope.
Before having a child, Kirkpatrick played in a number of original bands in the Bay Area. In local music circles, he played in the Saul Rayo band.
“I’ve done other peoples’ music. I just haven’t done mine … I’m hoping a lot of my friends come out and share this with me,” he said.
Time and life experiences have shaped Kirkpatrick’s song writing. He says he is wiser now, has perspective and something to say.
“I think the way I can communicate best is through song,” he said.
Tonight’s show starts at 8. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Nevada City Box Office at Miners Foundry Cultural Center, BriarPatch Co-op or at Paul Emery’s website.