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Korby Lenker's 7th studio album wasn't recorded in a studio.
It was created on the edge of the Snake River Canyon, in a cabin north of Sun Valley Idaho, in his father’s mortuary, and in a dozen other places. For music as unique and personal as Korby’s, it only made sense that the actual creation of THOUSAND SPRINGS be part of the story.
Says Lenker: “I grew up in Idaho. My first band, Clockwork Orange, practiced in a basement in Twin Falls. I learned how to play guitar by listening to records and learning the licks, one note at a time. The way I play and think about music now has a lot to do with growing up there, feeling isolated from the outside world. There weren’t a lot of people around me making music. I had to go out and find it.”
Korby's deliberate approach to music is the mainstay of career now tipping into its third decade. Along the way there have been numerous songwriting awards (including first place wins at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriters Showcase) and festival appearances, (Sasquatch, Bumbershoot). Lenker has also shared the stage with such luminaries as Willie Nelson, Ray Lamontagne, Nickel Creek, Chris Isaak, to name a few.
“For me,” says Lenker, "the two most important qualities of good art are originality and meaning. By original, I mean you’ve got to tell your own story and no one else’s…one thing that was good for me when I moved to Nashville was that it forced me to really dig in and figure out what I did that was different than what everyone else was doing. In Nashville, everyone can write a song and everyone can sing. But there is actually very little in the way of true originality. I spent my first three years in town parking cars at a hotel and taking a bunch of chances, creatively speaking. No one really cared about me, which turned out to be very freeing. Those first years were when I wrote most of the stories that became Medium Hero. I started writing songs that tended toward personal meaning over commercial appeal, and along the way I discovered there was an audience for this approach to telling my story. That was the best discovery of all. There are people out there who will let me be myself!"
Deciding that Story is Everything, Korby hatched an ambitious plan for his 7th album. After raising $20K in a crowdfunding campaign, he purchased some recording gear and a high-end battery typically used in climbing expeditions, and drove out to Idaho to see what would happen. He recorded the heart of each song — the guitar and vocal — in different places important to him personally. He recorded during the day and slept in a tent at night. He blogged about it.
After recording the basic tracks, he spent the next several months driving around the country, recording his friends where they lived — in backyards and hotel rooms - in Seattle, Portland, LA, Austin, Madison, Boston and more. Thousand Springs was recorded in 7 states and features almost 30 different artists from the young folk scene, including Nora Jane Struthers, Critter Eldridge, Anthony Da Costa, Amy Speace, Molly Tuttle, Carrie Elkin, Kai Welch, Beck Warren and many more.
Finally, in full-circle flourish, Lenker brought the album back to the present, finishing up the recordings at his home in East Nashville.
Thousand Springs was produced by Korby Lenker, mixed by Paul Mitch, and mastered by Alex McCullough. It will be released by Soundly Music, distributed by RED July 14, 2017.
Medium Hero and other stories
Published by Turner Publishing December 2015, Lenker’s first book features twenty-seven stories culled from his fifteen years as a solo touring indie artist. The stories are as colorful as his titles suggest — “Rat’s Dude”, “Manboy and the Mafia Table”, “Catlady” — and flourish under his descriptive, empathetic pen. From a romantic encounter turned family crisis, to a humorous eulogy for his recently deceased piano teacher, to an unlikely visit with a convicted felon in a California desert, he has distilled an unusual life into a few potent vignettes you will read more than once. Korby is in love with the world and has the gift of making readers see things his way.
“By chance, I saw Korby play music one night and knew I had to meet him. The stories in Medium Hero are just like his songs — clever and well-crafted, with a tendency to linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading. Very entertaining!”
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple
"Korby Lenker's keen control of narrative voice is spot-on in each of these stories -- distinctive, disarming, entertaining, and completely convincing.”
- Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato
“These stories straddle a border between an Everyman’s search for meaning and a highly specialized look at modern Americana…A quick, pleasurable set of short stories that track the emotional and intellectual struggle of several young men.”
- Kirkus Reviews