By Kimber Fountain
Pick any decade. Pick any genre. Chances are, no matter which you choose, you will hear it reflected in the latest album by local Galveston singer/songwriter Robert Kuhn. “Everybody Knows” is a display of amazing versatility, the product of a brilliant mind whose music is a veritable smorgasbord of sounds that lists like the Who’s Who of music. Subtle undertones of Jim Morrison, Bradley Nowell, Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, and even Jerry Lee Lewis and Marc Antony resonate with a spiritual fervor equal to Chris Cornell’s and a paradoxical, intricate-yet-simple lyrical styling reminiscent of Rob Thomas. Add to this striking arrangements and an articulate delivery, together with the voice control of a trained stage performer, and no matter how many names you can list in comparison the final conclusion will always be the same: Robert Kuhn has a sound unlike anything else you have ever heard.
Robert says the process for writing his songs is, “always different. Sometimes I just hear a song and boom, there it is. Or sometimes I will just sit down and start tinkering and the song will emerge.” The one thing that does remain consistent, however, is that he strives to “Keep the music positive. There is enough sadness out there. It is okay to be happy, and to have fun, to dance. There is beauty to be found everywhere.” Indeed the entirety of the output of the singer/songwriter genre, which like Robert’s music is often focused on the progressive and uplifting side of things, provides an important balance in an industry inundated with the reflections of the darker sides of the present age.
“Music has a lot of different edges, and it is always changing, it is always different,” Robert remarks, “because it is a commentary on the state of the world. You hear that a lot in modern urban and industrial music, the droning, monotone bass tones, the driving beats. As the times get more extreme, music is getting more abrupt, more aggressive.” But Robert Kuhn is a testament to a growing movement of musicians and songwriters who are weary of the morose and increasingly unwilling to succumb to the negative underpinnings of that jaded perspective. “Sure, right now you can see more darkness, but you can see more light, too,” Robert attests, and the inspirational depth he adds to his medley of melodies is affirmation of his belief.
“To me, music is a spirit that is always present,” and it is one that has been with him his entire life. He picked up his first harmonica as an infant, went on to learn to play the family piano, and at age 13 began taking guitar lessons from a lady in his neighborhood. But although Robert has always enjoyed playing music, it was only recently that he committed his undivided attention to it. And slowly, “everything else just started to fall away,” he says, “the music just got bigger and bigger until there wasn’t room for anything else.” The recording and production of “Everybody Knows” began a little over a year ago, which he initiated by himself at the computer. Slowly the concept grew, musicians were added, and when the album was completed, he relates that it was a feeling of, “Okay, this is it! This is what I am telling the world that I think is good.”
Fortunately for Robert Kuhn, so far it seems that everyone shares his opinion. A Houston radio DJ listened to the album and liked it, which led to an appearance at Troubadour Tuesdays at the Cottonwood Club, hosted by KPFT 90.1, where he also set the stage for his album release party. Since then it seems all of Houston is taking notice, as Robert and “Everybody Knows” have garnered the attention of the Houston Press, the Houston Chronicle, Cactus Music, and other Houston DJs, presenting him with opportunities to play live on the air and revisit the Cottonwood in early March.
This month Robert Kuhn will perform live at several venues across Galveston, including every Sunday at 9pm at Float Pool Bar (2828 Seawall Boulevard).
He can also be seen on the last Sunday of each month serenading Galveston’s Own Farmer’s Market (every Sunday 9am-1pm, 2028 Postoffice St., downtown Galveston). Also check out his latest music video on YouTube, shot in Galveston by local filmmaker Patrick James.
To keep up with Robert Kuhn, for additional dates, bookings, and for info regarding his upcoming tour, visit www.robertgkuhn.com.
“Everybody Knows” is available for purchase at any of his live performances or by contacting him directly.