Kevin Presbrey | Dust Unto Dust

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United States - Illinois

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Dust Unto Dust

by Kevin Presbrey

Drawing upon the influences of sultry singer-songwriters such as Jim Croce and Ray Lamontagne, Kevin Presbrey’s latest creation Dust Unto Dust is a marriage of the catchy hook and the rootsy americana track you might hear on a early 1970s record.
Genre: Rock: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tell Me What You Want
3:34 $1.29
2. Good Man
3:21 $1.29
3. Sunrise
3:15 $1.29
4. Something in the Water
3:37 $1.29
5. Always With Me
2:44 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“I was born on November 24th, 1980 in Aurora, IL, a suburb of Chicago most infamous for the classic film Wayne’s World (which Aurora bares no resemblance honestly). Neither of my folks played an instrument, and music wasn’t something that was discussed much around the kitchen table to my recollection. My first memories of music took place during my early childhood years when I recall my mom singing “Puff The Magic Dragon” to me to help me fall asleep. I’m not sure why that memory sticks in my head, and it wasn’t until much later in life that I actually discovered what Puff the Magic Dragon was referencing. I have a pretty hip mom…

Growing up, my exposure to music came predominantly from my parents album collections. Between myself and my younger brother Kenton, I’m pretty sure we swiped my mom’s Appetite for Destruction album on about ten separate occasions. On fishing trips with my dad, we had plenty of time to spare on the car rides up north, so in between chats about the Cubs, we’d always listen to his favorite bands: The Doors, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, America, Genesis & CSNY. I didn’t know much about making music or writing songs at the time, but I did recognize that I was listening to some pretty cool tunes. We sang along, poorly. I had a pretty hip dad as well…

At age 17, playing music officially made it’s entrance into my life. One night, while hanging out at my grandparent’s house, I heard my Uncle Mick and his buddy Bill jamming on the acoustic guitars in the basement. I’d always known my uncle to be a harmonica player and excellent fisherman, but I wasn’t really keen to the fact that he played guitar. On a whim, I asked him and Bill to play Stairway to Heaven for me since I’d just about burned out the Led Zeppelin IV disc I’d snagged from my dad. After a memorable rendition, my uncle asked me if I’d be interested in learning a few things on the guitar. Sheepishly, I told him that I wouldn’t be any good at it and had the slightest clue about anything to do with music aside from listening to it. The challenge-oriented side of me decided otherwise. My Uncle Mick is a pretty cool dude…

The first song I learned on guitar was Stairway to Heaven, followed by Sweet Melissa, and Blackbird by The Beatles. The Ovation Applause, referred to as “The Beater,” I was borrowing from my uncle at the time wasn’t the easiest to learn on or much to look at, but it sounded decent enough that I could somewhat recognize the songs I was attempting to learn. About once a week, I’d head over to my uncle’s house and absorb as much musical knowledge as I could. Thankfully, he was quite a patient teacher. Music was a foreign language to me so the learning took place at a tortoise pace for quite some time. I’d forget about half of the things he’d show me after the lesson, but I’d always go home and play guitar until I fell asleep or drove my mom crazy, whichever occurred first. Using songbooks I’d borrowed and the notes I’d taken in my lessons, I was finally able to play through most of Stairway as well as a few other basic songs. Coinciding with my new found affection for the guitar was the punishment I received from my parents for having a small party at the house while they were out of town. These few months gave me plenty of time to spend in my bedroom practicing during the end of my junior year of high school. Looking back now, it was a good thing my parents set me straight after that little party…

Slowly but surely during my collegiate years, I was getting a bit more comfortable on the guitar and decided to take a stab at writing some of my own songs. I had no clue what I was doing, but always enjoyed writing in school, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. With a computer microphone and some cheesy PC software, I recorded my first original song called “Life by the Day” in my dorm room during my freshman year. I think my ears would bleed if I listened back now, but at the time it felt like the start of something. Not much, but something. I passed the song along to a few of my college buddies and they seemed to think it was okay, so I kept at it and recorded a few more songs.

By my junior year, I’d put enough songs together to make a demo called No Way Out. I passed it around to kids on campus, and decided to book my first show at the campus coffee house to try out my new songs for an audience. To say that I was a bit nervous is an understatement. More accurately, I’d use the word “horrified” to describe my sentiments during the weeks prior to the show. No matter how many times I played through my songs, I was scared to death that I’d forget all the lyrics when I got up on stage. When the big night finally arrived, I debuted all the songs from No Way Out as well as a few covers I’d learned to an audience of about 40 people. Much to my surprise I had a fairly pleasant experience that night, and I didn’t forget all the lyrics. I did forget a few.

At this point, I was gaining a little confidence and decided to book some more shows on campus. In between classes and athletics, I started performing at open mic nights around the Central Maine bars. These establishments were kind of rough to say the least, but they definitely taught me how to perform in front of complete strangers. I remember one of my first paid gigs being at a bar called Barney’s in Winthrop, Maine. I played my set right after a Nascar race for a bunch of guys with mullets and t-shirts with the sleeves cut off. That was an interesting show (and maybe the birth of the song I wrote called Mullet Joe), but I made the best of it. If it hadn’t already, music was officially taking over my life, one day at a time.

When I graduated from college in 2003, I drove 21 hours back home with one goal in mind: writing and performing songs. I had no contacts, connections or friends in the music industry, no gigs on the books, and two parents who weren’t expecting their son to venture into the world of entertainment. Music was a nice hobby, but it was no way to make a living. Like many other times in my life, I set out to prove the nay-sayers wrong. Every day, I picked up the phone and called local coffee shops, bars, and restaurants looking for gigs. Most of the time, I wouldn’t get a call back, let alone a gig, but after a while I was able to land a few shows at local coffee houses. While I searched for gigs, I was going to quite a few open mic nights and continuing to write new material for what would soon become my first studio recording: Two Weeks Notice.

I met Charlie Prazma through a string of odd connections, and embarked upon several months of recording at Crystal Studios to produce my first shrink wrapped album. It was certainly no gem, but I’d learned quite a bit from Charlie throughout that time period. Like my uncle, Charlie was a mentor and always steered me in the right direction. I was happy to finally have a product to sell at my local shows and was continuing to gain more knowledge about making music.

Hundreds of shows, late nights, a little sleep, and a few voice lessons later, I called a fast talker from Nashville, Tennessee after hearing an Elliot Morris album which he’d produced. He being Chris Sevier. This chapter of my music career brought forth two full band albums Black Roses & Afterglow and included several musicians from around the Chicago area. Although I can recall these times as being some of my most grueling and frustrating, I can also say they were some of the most gratifying and memorable. From the basement in my grandparent’s house to providing opening act and tour support for artists such as Tonic, Train, Doobie Brothers & Sister Hazel, things certainly had come a long way. Finally my hard work was beginning to pay off. People were actually coming out to hear my original songs, and I was even able to land a few of those songs on TV shows.

Maintaining your sanity and a rock band at the same time generally don’t go hand in hand, so after several years of focusing solely on Painkiller Hotel, my gut instinct told me that it was time to return to my acoustic roots. Much like my introduction to Chris Sevier in Nashville, I called Bear Creek Studio on a whim in hopes of reaching Ryan Hadlock who’d recently produced The Lumineers, another album which I thoroughly enjoyed. Surprisingly, I was able to get him on the phone for a few minutes and convinced him to listen to my songs. From the onset, Ryan and I were on the same page when it came to creating music. Over the next several months, I sent him tracks I was demoing on my own as well as a few tracks I’d recorded locally with producer Bobby Scumaci. After fifty or so emails back and forth, Ryan and I were finally able to lock in some dates during March of 2013 to begin recording Dust Unto Dust.

Dust Unto Dust was constructed from song pieces and lyrics I’d jotted down for years, combined with new material I’d written following the death of my father in 2012. When I lost my father, who’d been such a big supporter of my music and inspiration to me, I spent a lot of time thinking about something he’d told me over and over again throughout my life, ”Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can because you never know how long you’ll be here to do it.” There had been some times throughout the last few years during some of the rougher stretches that I’d questioned my music career and my writing, and now without my biggest fan it seemed like maybe it was time to hang it up and try something else.

During the months following his passing, I struggled to crack a smile, I spent a lot of time thinking, and found myself leaning on the one thing that had been there for me since age 17, my music. As you can probably gather, I decided not to hang it up, and instead used songwriting as my therapy to get through my father’s death. I thought about and still think about what my dad said to me. I know deep down music is a big part of who I am, and even though my dad isn’t here anymore to cheer me on and talk shop after my shows, his guiding principles will always be here inside of me. His passing was a tragic event that abruptly changed my life, but in the end, the silver lining was the inspiration he gave me to create Dust Unto Dust.

I attempted to write a bio about myself with a bunch of really big descriptive music industry friendly words (which is no easy task), and after about a paragraph or so of trying, I decided to simply tell you my story the way it really happened. I have so much to be thankful for, and so many people who’ve helped me along the way. I’m grateful for each and every person who has been a part of this journey. I will continue to put my best foot forward in creating honest music from the heart as I’ve always set out to do. I hope this short novel gives you a little perspective about who I really am, where I came from, and where I’m headed.” - KP



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