At 16, Ken heard the music of John Denver and 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 his friends & family 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. As Ken explored the state, he felt a longing to be further into the mountains and wound up in Glenwood Springs. 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.
Ken's earlier draw to Colorado & to John Denver's music led him 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. "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".
Heeding John's advice, for the next six years, Ken performed nearly full-time as a singer/songwriter across Colorado, Texas & Louisiana. 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 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 of becoming a pilot. Earning his license in 1983, Ken moved to Arizona working as a house musician in a supper club and worked as a flight instructor during the day. During this time, Ken continued to build flight hours and obtained additional certificates and flight ratings. (He is currently Type rated in two Cessna Citations.)
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 from 1989 to 1996.
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.
Ken's latest CD project, "Never Felt Better" is now complete. "I've always wanted to record and produce an all original CD of material ranging from Ballads to Kickin'-Country". Ken was joined by ex Doobie Brother's drummer, Chet McCracken and John Sommers, a long-time John Denver band member, who wrote "Thank God I'm A Country Boy", among others.
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 world's largest annual airshow in Oshkosh, WI.
Ken has two beautiful children and is married to Pattie, living in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Safe Kids
2. Bring A Buddy With You
3. Get out the Rap
4. Ridin' My Bicycle Safe
5. I'm Only A Child
6. Situation Awareness
7. When I Go Walking
8. The Seat Belt Song
9. For The Children
10. Safe Kids (Reprise)