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Galen Kipar Project at the 2010 FloydFest!

Check out this great review of the Galen Kipar Project’s new release, The Scenic Route in Bold Life. GKP is playing in Asheville This Thursday, August 12th,  at the Grey Eagle in Asheville with the Stereofidelics.

Musical Melting Pot

BY ROBIN TOLLESON in Bold Life

The Galen Kipar Project’s blend of original folk and Americana has been dubbed “experimental” by some music scribes. But it’s really more “old school” roots, like “really old school.”

Galen Kipar fuses his soulfully sung melodies and blues threads with structure ideas he learned studying Debussy’s playbook. Kipar composes with his scope open wide, and has produced four albums in the last five years, including 2008’s acclaimed Paper Sailor, and, just-released, The Scenic Route.

find out more about Galen’s musical background

Kipar started playing music when he was 14, after finding his mother’s classical guitar in a closet. “A friend of mine had just gotten a guitar, and he was learning chords,” he says. “So I started learning chords, and soon we started trying to play songs.”

Now 33, Kipar was a self-taught musician until enrolling at Brevard College in 2001. “My emphasis was in composition,” he says. “I started out as a guitar performance major because I wanted to be able to play an instrument to write songs on. But I switched my interest to composition, and that’s really what I was in love with — I just didn’t know it until I chunked through some of that stuff. That’s what college forces you to do.”

Kipar’s songwriting skills have earned praise from many sources — “small scale symphony,” writes Mountain Xpress, “never settling for conventional melodic or lyrical choices,” adds Asheville magazine. “Going to school and studying composition with Paul Elwood was basically like gathering a toolbox,” Kipar says. “Before I went back to school I had hit a plateau where I just wrote the same song over and over again in a different way. Picking up compositional techniques and tactics, you just have a whole dictionary of things to use as writing tools. I don’t think I’ll ever cover everything in my lifetime. That’s the beauty of it. There are so many different ways to create music.”

Kipar is inspired by music like Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ and Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody In Blue.’ “I love Debussy’s ‘La Mer,'” he says. “It’s all about the oceans, and it’s creating imagery through several different movements. My college professor was persistent that you take an original melody when you’re thinking about a song or a work, and you get everything that happens in that song from that group of notes, those intervals. It can always come back around, but you’re developing it from those. It’s like when you’re writing — you come up with a topic, you develop your thesis statement and then you elaborate on that statement. Music is a language in so many different forms, so a lot of those same principles can be applied.”

Kipar met his talented bandmate, Jon Morrow, at Brevard College, where they played classical music together in the guitar ensemble. Morrow plays an eight-stringed Novax guitar, and simultaneously covers guitar and bass parts in the GKP. They trade off on leads. “It works well because we’re both playing finger-style picking for the most part,” Kipar says. “On a couple tunes I’ll use a pick for a strumming pattern. I try and write music for those instruments, with lots of counterpoint happening. So the experience that we got together in guitar ensemble has definitely carried through to this point.”

Drummer Jeremy Young brings a myriad of grooves to the table, from world beat and jazz fusion to blues and avant garde. “I was on the hunt for a drummer, heard him play one night, and it all came from there,” Kipar recalls. “He is the rock. I love that guy. John and Jeremy have definitely turned me on to some other styles of music. We’ve been listening to Indian composers, and they’ve turned me on to some jazz — I really like Brad Mehldau’s stuff.”

Western North Carolina has proven to be a good fit for Galen Kipar. “Brevard kind of found me, honestly. I had fallen in love with the mountains and gotten into fly- fishing,” he says. “I got a little bit of scholarship money, and that was enough to at least get me up here. From there I found Asheville and just fell in love with the area. If you’re going to be on the East Coast, in my opinion, this is it. Especially for a musician or someone that loves the outdoors.

“Art is a reflection of your surroundings, a mirror of culture. I think that if you spend enough time in one kind of environment then it’s going to channel through in whatever you’re doing.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A15294

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Galen Kipar Project recently released their 4th album, the Scenic Route. It has been receiving some great reviews as well as airplay on WNCW, 98.1 The River, Davis Gan’s “Dead to the World” on KFPA in Berkely, Wildman Steve Radio, The Wrecking Ball Radio Hour, Penn State’s The Lion, to name a few. www.galenkipar.com

This short review was just posted for Asheville’s Bold Life:

Their fourth album in five years, GKP’s The Scenic Route is simply a cool, refreshing sonic treat just in time for summer. Of course, those familiar with this prolific local favorite won’t be surprised at the detailed orchestration, intuitive structure and obscure but fascinating lyrics of their latest offering. But they continue to push themselves in new directions and I like that. The album opens with two upbeatish tunes of very different stripes, “October Snow” and “Rushing Over My Bones.” While the tunes are great, they don’t seem to fit with the rest of the album – which almost has the pacing and emotion of one of those epic 70s rock albums. Indeed, even the plaintive guitar in “Why” reached out to remind me of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”, while “Riverside” conjures wonderful feelings of the first time I heard Sandy Denny guest on Zep’s “Battle of Evermore.” There are also a few magic moments on this recording when Kipar seems to channel such brilliant singer/songwriters as Rufus Wainwright and Paul Simon (not that he needs to). Kipar is also blessed with a number of collaborating musicians, one of the stand-outs for me being Camellia Delk, who provides some really moving and haunting violin work. As a final note, I think the band would be pleased to know that out of the hundreds and hundreds of albums in my iTunes library, this album is the only one listed under the “unclassifiable” genre category. And I own Disco Volante! ~ Brent Fleury

And from Orgivation Magazine in PA:

From the first track, The Galen Kipar Project’s fourth album, The Scenic Route, will have you tapping your feet. This is folk and blues done so well, with bits of jazz and funk thrown in, making it that much more enjoyable. Track 3 sounds positively serene, and track 8, “Words”, proves how this album is perfect to play while driving along a quiet open road.~ Jessica Selby

and here is what WNC Magazine has to say:

Like countless artists in Western North Carolina, singer-songwriter Galen Kipar finds inspiration in this region’s compelling landscape. The force of a rushing river, the solitude of the wilderness, and the surprise of an October snowfall turn up in lyrics on the latest CD from Asheville’s Galen Kipar Project. Titled The Scenic Route, the eight-song album continues the band’s fusion of folk, jazz, and classical elements, creating a sound that’s intricate and memorable, sophisticated and relaxed. “Headed on down to the waterside, going to find a place to rest my mind,” Kipar sings in “Riversong,” which adds viola and electric guitar to the band’s acoustic core. Guitarist Kipar, eight-string guitar/bass player Jon Morrow, and drummer Jeremy Young all studied music at area colleges, and Kipar’s arrangements draw on his background in classical composition. The band’s fourth album in five years includes ace Asheville musicians contributing on flute, strings, lap steel, and piano. “It comes from an honest place,” Kipar says about the album. No matter where you’re headed, The Scenic Route is a trip well worth taking. ~ Michael Flynn

PREVIEW OR BUY THE ALBUM
The best way to get a copy of the new album “the Scenic Route,”  is to come to a show!  For those of you who are too far off our beaten path, or don’t want to wait for us to make it to your town or city,
visit CD Baby or the  iTunes
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UPCOMING SHOWS for Galen Kipar Project
MPAC’s July 4th Block Party Weaverville, NC Sun Jul 04 10 08:00 PM
Pritchard Park Asheville, NC Thu Jul 08 10 11:30 AM
Sky City Augusta, GA Thu Jul 08 10 08:00 PM
Square Root Brevard, NC Fri Jul 09 10 08:00 PM
Fletcher Concert in the Park Fletcher, NC Sat Jul 10 10 06:00 PM
Awendaw Green AWENDAW, SC Wed Jul 14 10 08:00 PM
Kudu Coffee Charleston, SC Thu Jul 15 10 08:00 PM
the mill Charleston, SC Fri Jul 16 10 08:00 PM
FloydFest Floyd, VA Thu Jul 22 10 04:00 PM
Awful Arthur’s – Towers Roanoke, VA Thu Jul 22 10 10:00 PM
The Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall Asheville, NC Thu Aug 12 10 08:00 PM
Bar Four Brooklyn, NY Sat Aug 14 10 08:00 PM
PREVIEW OR BUY ALBUM
The best way to get a copy of the new album “the Scenic Route,”  is to come to a show!  For those of you who are too far off our beaten path, or don’t want to wait for us to make it to your town or city,

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Nice short and sweet review of Galen Kipar Project’s new album:

The Galen Kipar Project:  The Scenic Route

By Jessica Selby     in the  Origivation  located in Philly

From the first track, The Galen Kipar Project’s fourth album, The Scenic Route, will have you tapping your feet. This is folk and blues done so well, with bits of jazz and funk thrown in, making it that much more enjoyable. Track 3 sounds positively serene, and track 8, “Words”, proves how this album is perfect to play while driving along a quiet open road.

http://www.origivation.com/reviews/june2010/galen.php

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Galen Kipar Project’s new album the Scenic Route is set for Asheville release on Saturday May 29th at the Lexington Ave Brewery. The show starts at 9pm.

“Each song on Routes is carefully orchestrated and worked with the tender care of a master painter at his easel. Kipar elevates this eight-song collection far beyond standard singer/songwriter fare, wringing emotion and texture from each song and adding layers of interest with rich, resonant percussion and an intricate dance of string tones, states Mtn Xpress writer Alli Marshall.  Click here to read the album review.

Check out this great interview in this week’s Mountain Xpress:

Taking the Scenic Route

Galen Kipar Project returns with a fluid, effortless new album

by Dane Smith in Vol. 16 / Iss. 44 on 05/26/2010 rocknrolldane@gmail.com

Mountain Xpress www.mountainx.com

The aptly titled fourth effort from Asheville’s symphonic-folk outfit The Galen Kipar Project is loaded with images of mountains, rivers, forests and streams, and backed by lush arrangements, fluid vocals and Appalachian instrumentation that bring to life what is essentially a musical portrait of Western North Carolina.

And that, says Kipar, is no accident. The album’s title is not only a literal reference to the years the band has spent on the road, but also a reflection on the way they’ve approached their career.

Water signs: The album has a theme of water and currents that Kipar says was unintentional, but not surprising.

“We feel like we’ve taken the scenic route as a band,” he explains. “We’ve been playing for a while, and we’re still trucking along. And Western North Carolina is such a beautiful area. We couldn’t ask for a better place to drive around and play music, where 75 percent of your job is driving. It definitely reflects on this area.”

What was less intentional, he admits with a laugh, is the album’s underlying theme of water and currents. Nearly every track on The Scenic Route mentions, whether in passing or in the song title itself, to some form of water. But Kipar insists that the repeated imagery was pure coincidence, or at least “subconscious regurgitation.”

“It kind of was by accident,” Kipar says in a way that suggests he expected this to come up. “I really didn’t recognize it at first, and then someone said, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of references to water on this album.’ Then it became apparent. But for me personally, I am a water person. I’ve spent a lot of time near and on the water and I love it. There is a lot of inspiration that comes from water and currents and just being in that environment.

“I tried to come up with an album title that captured the parallels between music and the currents that you might find in water, or in moving water. But I didn’t nail it on the head. They always come after the fact.”

Nevertheless, the eight-song offering is, from start to finish, relaxed, easy, accessible and relatable, yet layered and dense at the same time. Kipar’s vocal delivery is bouncy but gentle, and his harmonica provides a down-home grittiness that balances the atmosphere of strings and flute, which is really the key to Kipar’s appeal. Somehow, he manages to convey the simplicity of folk through the complexities of jazz and classical arrangements, without losing sight of the message.

For his part, Kipar offers a simpler explanation.

“Often it starts out as a whistle, honestly,” he says. “Once you find that melody, those few couple of notes that really define the song, you can start to develop the other parts based on that original melody. Really, all I’m trying to do is develop that original melody and vary it —cover that entire territory, basically.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2010/052610taking_the_scenic_route

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