This was long before dizzy revelers squeezed into a club to see Kinsey command a stage occupied by a burlesque troupe, one of Houston Grand Opera’s finest singers, a tent, and an oversized bird’s nest (complete with large blue eggs) that was a true work of art. It was, however, long after Kinsey received a country education via a moonshiner’s daughter in Kentucky where the kitchen table was filled with “money, playing cards, and knives” and southern folklore filled the air. This family influence instilled in Kinsey a fascination with medicine shows, saints, outlaws, and the dynamic of hobos and traveling revival tents. A voyager at heart, he train hopped, walked, and drove across the country in search of “the old days of Guthrie, Kerouac, and John Lee Hooker.”
Kinsey once embarked on a hitchhiking expedition from Texas to Canada, singing and preaching along the way
Sparked by an intense desire to connect with the pauper’s existence of a nomadic holy philosopher, Kinsey once embarked on a hitchhiking expedition from Texas to Canada, singing and preaching along the way. Upon his eventual return to Texas, a study of Joseph Campbell prompted him to renew a commitment to explore what lay behind “the masks of god.” Finding peace and solitude as a monk, he learned the origins of American southern music, including the beginnings of country rock, from John Michael Talbot, the Catholic singer/ songwriter who founded the monastery in which Kinsey lived for nearly five years.
“When I entered, I thought I would be there for the rest of my life,” Kinsey recalls. “Even today, I’m still a part of the monastery. Musicianship is a doorway to following the path to a higher calling. That world and the world of my stage show, to me, are one and the same thing. They both come from the same ecstatic root, deep within the human psyche.”