Born a full turn from the white picket fences of America, Craig Kinsey was raised on Southern lore from a family of moon shiners. His teenage years were spent train hopping, walking, and driving across the country in search of “the old days… Guthrie, Kerouac, and John Lee Hooker.” This seeking out the marrow of life led him into the great silence of a monastery and out again into music’s center stage.
Growing up, Kinsey explains, meant living the hobo and prophet’s life that was so captivating in the stories his Grandmother would tell. “I heard it all around kitchen tables, where there was usually money, playing cards, and knives.” This love for ‘the story’ sparked a personal study of old music, poetry, and history. He found a common thread running through works like The Underground by Dostoevsky, the French film Les Enfant Du Paradise, and American classics like The Moviegoerand Freaks. Art and a deep living of life lead Kinsey down another unusual bend.
“I had some things I needed to see there,” Craig says grinning, and leaves it at that when describing his 4 years at the monastery. After receiving dispensation from his abbot he spent four years studying psychology and philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. “I was studying how to entertain crowds, both in novel writing [he has written a novel that is being looked at by an agent] and music performance.” Before all this, however, his mind was already turned toward a life of music and performance.
Craig Kinsey’s new album, The Burdener, carries the punch of his diverse life. It starts off with a circus— a raucous, grinding New Orleans sounding Deep Vermillion Rug. The epic Waiting on a Train and St. Anne’s door weave barroom piano, brass and strings while Montrose Blvd. Blues pays homage to Houston’s gypsy and frontier styled swing. The Burdener is Kinsey’s first solo effort apart from the Sideshow Tramps, a band with a five year history of surviving floods, fires, police raids, and a shipwreck while receiving the title “legendary” and “Best Stage Act” by the Houston Press.
Craig Kinsey now lives in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas.