At 16, Ken heard the music of John Denver and for some unexplainable reason, felt a natural and immediate connection with this entertainer and his music. "I loved what he was writing and connected with what he was saying", recalls Ken. After graduation in 1976, Ken packed his van with his motorcycle and guitar, said good-bye to the family that had always supported and encouraged him and headed west towards the snow-covered peaks of the Colorado Rockies.
Within days of settling in to a new apartment in Colorado Springs, he found work playing in nightclubs around the area. Although the eastern slope of the Rockies was beautiful, he felt a longing to be further into the mountains. He continued to write and perform his original songs around the state, and occasionally took on odd jobs to stay afloat, including that of a coal miner near Aspen.
One thing led to another and Ken's earlier unexplainable draw to Colorado & to John Denver's music led him one afternoon to a face-to-face introduction with this music icon. In 1980, Ken was offered (and gladly accepted) a position as a personal security guard for John and his family in Starwood. It was during this treasured time that Ken requested the Graveyard shift so he would have the chance to talk with John, as often he arrived home after midnight, and would be afforded the peaceful nights to continue his songwriting. "It was the perfect space for me to be in" recounts Ken, as the inspiration was all around me. After 2 years at Starwood, with an adrenaline pounding heart, Ken took a few original songs to John to ask for guidance and direction. Ken recalls John asking why he waited 2 years to bring his songs to him, to which Ken replied, "I was hired to keep people like me away from you", to which they both had a good laugh. Always encouraging, John prodded Ken to "keep writing and get in front of people and let them hear your songs...continue developing your own style and just do what you love to do". Ken will never forget that day or those priceless words from the man he so respected.
With those resounding words, Ken did exactly what his friend had urged him to do. John also asked Ken to "bring to him, send to him, or call him anytime" when he had written a song that Ken wanted John to hear. Ken did his best to stay in touch with John over the years until his heart-wrenching, tragic end in 1997.
Perhaps the death of his friend through a violent plane crash effected Ken as much as it did was because John also inspired Ken to learn to fly. It was after moving to Grand Junction in 1982, that Ken pursued this goal & dream of becoming a private pilot, as was his dad. Earning his license in 1983, Ken moved to Arizona evading the devastating economic bust in Western Colorado. Once in Phoenix, Ken found work as a house musician in a supper club. While things were tight, Ken sang in the evenings, delivered USA Today papers at 4am, worked as a busy flight instructor during the day and drove for Dominos pizza in his spare time. But it was during this time that he continued to build flight hours and obtained additional certificates and flight ratings. (He is currently Type rated in twoCitation aircraft).
In 1987, Ken came to somewhat of a crossroad in his personal & professional life. At the time, the option of making aviation his primary source of income seemed like the thing to do. As Ken put it, "...at least for awhile." Ken flew the line for Continental Express Airlines for over 2 years out of Houston, TX, then moving to Vermont to fill a position as Corporate Pilot.
During those years in Vermont, Ken built and operating his own recording studio. Through his music company, Ken composed, recorded and released 3 albums all about the fun, thrill and excitement of flying. In just a few short years, Ken wrote, produced, recorded, and set up a sales network for these albums where pilots are enjoying his music all across the US, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, England, Australia, and Hungary. His music has been featured on numerous videos, as music beds for commercials and background music for major aviation events.
After the release of the 3rd flying album, Ken went to work on creating a children's personal safety album entitled, Playin' It Safe. Within this 33 minute CD, Ken and nine talented (energetic) kids, ages 5-14, address topics of; Water Safety, Bicycle Helmets, Seat Belts, Residential Fires, and staying safe when Walking Alone, and more! The music and lyrics are up-beat and informative. Ken's feelings are that, "...our most valuable resource is our children. They need to know how to be children while being safe and that they are important to all of us and to the future of this planet. I want them to know that they can make a difference in their own lives and in the workings of the whole world." Parents along with a multitude of safety organizations from around the country have lauded this progressive CD project.
With the heart wrenching passage of Ken's mentor in 1997, John Denver, Ken said that he felt he needed say something that was in his heart, but didn't know how to begin to say all the things he was feeling inside. It wasn't until weeks later when someone finally said to him in desperation "it was simply his time to go". With those words, Ken knew exactly what he had been trying to say, he realized that it may had been John's time... but it wasn't his time to loose his friend. In a rush of emotion, the music and lyrics to "It Wasn't My Time" came pouring out. This moving song is included as Ken's final track of his "Rocky Mountain Memories" CD, his tribute to John Denver. Urged on by his mother and sister to create such an album of his John Denver favorites, Ken began work on the project within days of the accident.
A brand-new project is now underway of a collection of reflective ballads that Ken has composed over the years. I've heard some of these songs, and let me just say that it's some of the best material Ken has ever written! This is just one of 3 new albums that we can be expecting from Ken. He tells me that he has always wanted to do a Christmas album and wants to interweave portions of early recordings of his dad, now that his father has passed away. "I think it would be a challenge to make these songs sound the way I want, combining the music I create today with dad's pre-1940 recordings, and know the results could be awesome".
NEVER FELT BETTER is Ken's BRAND NEW Country album which you are going to love! This project features the talents of John Sommers (a long-time John Denver band member, and who wrothe Thank God I'm A Country Boy), Chet McCracken (drummer for The Doobie Brothers, and has worked with Stevie Nicks, America and more), Randy Utterback, Chuck Eller and other outstanding talents!
Ken continues to write, record, and perform for a variety of audiences around the country. His live performances of Aviation Music have taken him to numerous venues nationwide, from Florida to Alaska, from Vermont to California, including performances at the Worlds largest annual airshow in Oshkosh, WI.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Starwood in Aspen
2. Take Me Home Country Roads
3. Rhymes & Reason
4. Back Home Again
5. Sunshine On My Shoulders
6. Poems, Prayers & Promises
7. Farewell Andromeda
8. Rocky Mountain High
9. I'm Sorry
10. It Wasn't My Time (The Tribute)