Clay Kirkland - Beat The Reaper XIII

Clay Kirkland - Beat The Reaper XIII

Clay Kirkland
Swallow Hill Music - Daniels HallDenverCO
All Ages
Doors at 7:00pm, Show at 8:00pm. All sales are final.

A note from Clay:

Hey, y’all. How you doin’? I sure hope you’ll be part of the celebration of life at my Thirteenth Annual Beat the Reaper Concert, Daniels Hall, Saturday, February 2, 8:00 pm, in recognition of my seventy second birthday. I don’t see you so often these days. I am now a touring musician and teacher, making Kansas City my home base while I put together plans for building on the wooded acreage I own in SW Missouri.

Years ago, I noticed that some of my house painting clients would grow older without showing signs of aging for a while. Then at some point they would have an “aging spurt” and they would really show their age. My move to Kansas City has put some years on me. I have had an “aging spurt”. There will be no leaping and big kicks in BTRXIII.

The songs in the first set will all be songs I have written. In the second set we will all have times to be showcased. I call the band “Key on a Kite”, a phrase I borrowed from one of my son’s rap songs. Band members are Stef Kull, keyboards; Steve DiSciullo, bass guitar; Chris “Citrus” Sauthoff, guitar; Paul Trunko, guitar; Tony Pantelis, drums. We will have guests.

Members of the audience have said to me many times, “I never liked harmonica until I heard you play.” “I have never heard harmonica sound like that. I close my eyes and it could be violin or guitar or synthesizer or French horn.” “Your song ‘Wintertime’ is the prettiest song I have ever heard.”

I do enjoy bringing to the harmonica some skills and sensitivities and virtuosity that can only be achieved from a lifetime of playing and singing. My mother was an excellent pianist so I heard her play and felt her body movements long before I was born. Daddy was a Baptist minister and Mother was often the church pianist and choir director. I am grateful to have grown up in a home where the pursuit of a deeper understanding of my Inner Self and connection with the Almighty was the primary focus. My parents always encouraged me to play and sing. In the first grade, in Winterville, Georgia, Mother had my twin sister, Claire, and me singing a duet in a school talent show and playing in the school rhythm band. I began playing cello in the school orchestra in the fourth grade in Macon, Georgia, baritone horn in the concert and marching band through high school in Calhoun, Missouri, and North Kansas City, and singing in the church and school choirs. The physicality of my playing and the depth of feeling are aided by many years of yoga, Primal Therapy, Holotropic Breathwork, Siddha Yoga meditation, and study of nutrition and health.

I have been blessed to perform with some of the greatest, iconic musicians of the world: Willie Nelson, Lou Rawls, Elvin Bishop, Buddy Miles, Sleepy John Estes, Sammy Lawhorn, Houston Stackhouse, Chuck Berry, Robyn Ford, Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Nighthawks, Jimmy Thackery, the Royal Musicians of Nepal, the Colorado Symphony, the DaVinci String Quartet, the Flobots, Vince Gill, Vassar Clements, and Junior Brown. Johnny Paycheck’s harmonica player, P.T. Gazelle, called me on stage to play “Take This Job and Shove It” in the Sahara Reno Grand Ballroom. I’ve toured most of the Western U.S. with rodeo cowboy champion, Larry Mahan, as a member of his Great American Cowboy Band, and with country and Broadway star, Gary Morris. I have opened shows for B.B. King, the Steve Miller Band, Kansas, Leon Russell, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings, and many others. In the Moonlight Lounge in St. Louis, Muddy Waters introduced me to his buddy, Albert King. Muddy let me get up and play with a couple of his band members, Paul Oscher and Sammy Lawhorne. Jimmy Cotton, one of my greatest influences, and I are the only two harmonica players to receive the Colorado Blues Society Lifetime Achievement Award. I am the sole recipient of the Swallow Hill Music Distinguished Faculty Award. All this to say, I play pretty well and you’ll have fun at this show. I could give you a bunch of newspaper quotes and reviews but I’m not going to bother you.

Oh, yeah, I went to Woodstock, one of the greatest events in the history of the human race and, amazingly, I remember a lot of what happened, heh, heh.

I miss y’all and look forward to seeing you soon. I will be teaching classes and private lessons through the month of February. What a great way for us to visit with each other: book a couple of private lessons, take some classes. For information on my schedule, click here.

40th Anniversary Concert Series

Swallow Hill turns 40 in 2019, and we are celebrating all year long.

Monthly concert events - including this one - feature beloved artists from Swallow Hill’s storied history, as well as those who are leading us into our future. All of these artists uphold Swallow Hill's legacy of bringing Denver its favorite artists in folk, bluegrass, blues, Americana and the singer/songwriter community.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Venue Information:
Swallow Hill Music - Daniels Hall
71 East Yale Ave
Denver, CO, 80210