“One of New Englands best songwriters”
- Craig Harris, Boston Globe
“Terry Kitchen is definitely a cut above with his eye for detail and unique song ideas. With a keen sense of melody,
Terry’s songs truly deliver and take the listener on an emotional ride!”
- Jeff Pearson, The Bluebird Cafe
“Terry Kitchens songs are portraits of ordinary people and emotions, captured with extraordinary compassion, honesty and humor. A talented writer.”
- Richard Middleton, Victory Review
“Terry tackles tough personal subjects with generosity of vision.”
- Scott Alarik, Boston Globe
“Terry Kitchen picks up where Elvis Costello and Tom Waits merge and leave off.”
- Vance Gilbert
Award-winning contemporary folk singer/songwriter - and now novelist -
Terry Kitchen is a performing artist who's as much storyteller as musician.
His keen eye for detail, fearless emotional honesty, and knowledge of and empathy
for his subjects combine with his skills as a composer, singer and guitarist to take
the listener on a journey to the heart of each song. Live, his engaging stage
presence and ironic humor connect with every member of the audience.
His latest project NEXT BIG THING combines these strengths into a full-length novel and
accompanying "songtrack" CD.
Set in the '80s Boston music scene, NEXT BIG THING tells the story of a band
grappling with the fact that making it big might not be quite as easy as it seemed.
As Kitchen relates, "Since it's about a band, there's lots of music in the book. The
main character (one Mark Zodiac) is a songwriter, so I thought it might be fun to 'write
along with Mark.' I'd start typing a scene, then stop and pick up my guitar ... it made the
whole process very inefficient. Plus I have about another album's worth of songs from
scenes I cut."
The novel and album both trace the arc of the fictional band Shadowland from its
formative Ohio years to its make-or-break peak atop the Boston scene. As in his literate,
nuanced songwriting, Kitchen combines humor and heartbreak in unexpected ways to
keep the reader (and listener) guessing and wanting more.
The Songs from Next Big Thing songtrack CD is an eclectic mix of Terry's singer/songwriter
stylings and period influences, and includes a couple vintage tracks by Terry's '80s band
Loose Ties (such as the aptly-titled "Get Out of My Novel"). Also included is the
poignant "Ghosts of Kenmore Square," about the demise of the legendary Rathskeller
nightclub. Though based in fiction, the CD (and book) underscore Kitchen's own journey
from young songwriter to aspiring rock musician to contemporary folk singer/songwriter.
While working on NEXT BIG THING, Kitchen has also kept up his performing
career. In 2012 he released an EP with New Jersey folksinger Mara Levine that
includes "One by One (Song for Trayvon Martin)" and Mara's beautiful reading of
Kitchen's "A Perfect Rose." His previous solo CD, 2009's summer to snowflakes, a
collection of fourteen songs ranging from the gentle guitar whisper of "Listening to Summer"
to the harder-edged Appalachian twang of "Rainbow (in the Middle of the Night)," reached #27 on the national Folk-DJ airplay chart.
Kitchen's previous CDs include 2007's heaven here on earth (#25 on the Folk DJ
chart), 2004's ecological-themed thatís how it used to be, 2002's Right Now (which
contains the award-winning title song), 1999's blues for cain & abel (a deeply personal
collection of songs of doubt and faith), 1997's blanket (which was voted #21 best CD of
that year by Folk Digest) and 1995's I Own This Town (a collection of songs about
Kitchen's adolescence in small town Ohio).
Born in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Kitchen grew up first in Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania and then on Easton, PA's College Hill (home of Lafayette College, setting for that's
how it used to be's" The Greatest Game They Never Played"), where he was surrounded
by the music and spirit of the 1960s. As a bored teenager in the '70s, Terry roamed the
small town streets of Findlay, Ohio (the setting for "I Own This Town" and heaven here
on earth's "The Seven Eleven Overture") before escaping to Los Angeles to Occidental
College (where he met Rebecca Lynch, who sings Kitchen's Same Heart Twice on
Songs from Next Big Thing) and music school (The Guitar Institute of Technology -
walk down Hollywood Boulevard til you get to Elvis Presley's star, and it's the first door
on the right...). He moved to Boston and fronted the '80s original pop/rock band Loose
Ties (who are memorialized in heaven here on earth's "Magic Days," co-written by
Kitchen with former bandmate Bill Kuhlman) before settling on the intimacy of acoustic
music as the most natural setting for his songs.
For the past twenty years Terry has performed on the New England and national
coffeehouse and folk festival circuits (including Club Passim in Cambridge, Cafe Lena
and the Postcrypt in New York, Godfrey Daniels in Pennsylvania, and the Bluebird Cafe
in Nashville, and the Falcon Ridge, Telluride and South Florida folk festivals) and shared
the stage with such artists as the Roches, Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler,
Dan Bern, Vance Gilbert, the Nields, Susan Werner, Holly Near and Michelle Shocked.
He was a finalist in the 1992 Falcon Ridge songwriter showcase (and a featured
performer ever since), a '94 Telluride Troubadour, a finalist in the 2003 South Florida
Folk Festival's singer/songwriter showcase and a Top 40 finalist in the 2006 Kerrville Music
to Life competition, and a finalist in the 2013 Vermont Solarfest Song Contest. His
songs have won Grand Prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, First Prize in the USA
Songwriting Competition, Runner Up in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and
Third Prize in the WUMB Mockingbird Song Contest.
In addition to his songwriting Kitchen has written two plays, short
fiction and autobiographical stories. He's worked as a summer camp counselor, union
steward, ice cream scooper and bicycle messenger, has a brief but
distinguished FBI record for anti-nuclear protests, has finished last in a Boston Marathon,
and was once mentioned in a Harlequin romance novel.
Terry Kitchen has been writing songs since his school days as a way of making
sense of himself and the world around him, and he often leads songwriting workshops in
conjunction with performances. He is the coordinator of the Boston workshop of
the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), and is a member of The
People's Music Network, an organization devoted to music as a force for social justice.
He is a veteran of the Boston "Songos" writers group and the Kerrville songwriting
school. His songs "Snowflakes" and "Christmas Is Homeless" were recorded by
Barbara Kessler (on the Our Finest Gifts and 12 Steps of Christmas CDs), his
song "Inside" was recorded by country singer Dale Allaire, and his song "Finders
Keepers," co-written with Janet Feld, is featured on her CD Pulling on Strings.
Terry Kitchen is a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Touring
Artists Program. The MCC, in partnership with the New England Foundation for the
Arts, makes funds available to organizations that present Touring Artists. Please click
www.matchbook.org for how to apply for funding for a Terry Kitchen performance.