An Austin Original: Kevin Gant
In today's music press the words original and eclectic are overused but when
applied to Austin, Texas folk musician, Kevin Gant (www.kevingant.com), they ring true. Kevin has
opened for Ani DiFranco and the late Jeff Buckley. After a two year hiatus from
the live music scene Kevin Gant is back with a new CD and a new determination to
spread his musical message beyond the borders of the Live Music Capital of the
[Chris Van Loan] Kevin, welcome. Though almost
everyone involved in the Austin folk scene knows who you are, most people don't
know when you arrived here and how your musical journey started out.
[Kevin Gant] Well, I actually came to Austin in 1988 to work in the
electronics field. I remember the first live act I saw in Austin was Tish
Hinojosa at the Hole in the Wall. I was really inspired by her performance and
that made me want to get out and start performing. At the time I didn't know
about Austin's musical heritage. My mother lives in San Antonio and I really
moved to Austin for work.
[CVL] Well, how did you get involved with
Austin music as far as performing?
[KG] I started reading the local newspapers and found some listings
for open mikes. I'd go down and play two or three songs and just started
meeting a lot of musicians through the open mike scene. I began to build a
little following at the Chicago House and eventually began working there hosting
the open mike.
[CVL] How long did you work at Chicago House?
[KG] For about three years. The Chicago House has closed down but it
was a strong supporter of singer/songwriters. Hosting the open mike allowed me
to meet, influence and be influenced by a lot of talented musicians.
[CVL] I know that one of the people that you
got to open for and know personally was Ani Difranco. What does it feel like to
see Ani out there making it on her own terms and does her success inspire you?
[KG] First off, let me say that Ani was a real hard worker and though
everyone on the scene at the time was strapped financially you could see that
she was going to make it. There was little doubt in my mind that she was going
to reach her musical goals. I think the most important thing I've gained from
knowing Ani is seeing her drive and determination pay off.
[CVL] I've noticed that everyone who hears your
music is affected by the original blend of folk, soul, and new age influences
which make up the "Kevin Gant sound". How did you develop this sound?
[KG] I feel real fortunate for growing up in the 70's and hearing so
much great music. The problem was that I couldn't perform in the styles that I
enjoyed listening to. My style is the only way I know how to make music; I
wasn't trying to be "unique" or "original".
[CVL] Hmmm...so basically necessity led you to
your current style.
[KG] That's right.
[CVL] What was the reason for the musical
layoff that started in 1998 and ended about three months ago?
[KG] Well, the layoff was due to the roadblocks that many artists of
so called "eclectic music" face. Trying to make music and have it reach as many
people as possible without the music being commercialized by the music industry
is a constant battle. I also took some time off for some spiritual growth. I
think the avenues that are available through the internet will allow me to
present my music to a wider audience without compromising my creativity.
[CVL] Tell me about the title of your new CD,
"The Capacitor". What's that about?
[KG] Well, a capacitor is an electronic device that stores energy until a
trigger comes along and informs it to release a charge. I am using the
capacitor as a metaphor for the change that is occurring in our society. "The
Capacitor" describes the burst of energy that will be needed to change our
world's system and place us on a new path.
[CVL] That's cool. I hope that the capacitor
affect takes place in your career, releasing that stored musical energy and
hipping the world to what Austinites know already. That Kevin Gant is a true
folk music pioneer.
[KG] Chris, you're too kind. But I do think it is time for me to bear
the fruit of my musical labor. I want to thank you and Music Dish for giving me
the opportunity to spread the word about where I've been musically and where I'm