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Hi. My name is Kris Kehr and I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on February 25th, 1964 and raised in nearby Shoemakersville. I started understanding the power of music right around the age of 4 when I heard 'Help' by the Beatles on the radio at my grandmother Arlene's house in Leesport – and it made me sad. Why can music make us feel anything, especially emotions embedded so deep within us that we ourselves cannot clearly see or understand them? I love music ... I love people who connect with music in any form ... I respect that. Soon after I heard that Beatles tune I started collecting 45's, then albums, then CD's, then live recordings of the artists I connected with in an effort to get closer to answers to my young questions, both endeavors I still pursue whole-heartedly.

When I was 11, after I started listening to John Denver records I concluded that I could play guitar and set about doing just that. In high school I acquired a heavier taste and formed Live Wired (my first band) with my new Les Paul in-hand, covering AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and ZZ-Top. I took up the mandolin while I was going to Bloomsburg University in the mid 80's and with a bunch of like-minded folks helped form Redd I. Ramblers after discovering bluegrass via The Grateful Dead.

After an offer to join the Bethlehem-based progressive bluegrass outfit Pavlov's Dawgs on bass, I learned bass. We won the 1991 New York City Bluegrass Band Contest and I started taking songwriting and my musical career a bit more seriously. During this time I also joined The Electric Farm, and all-original folk-rock band also from The Lehigh Valley area. I credit the Farm's leader Joey Mutis as a guide and giant help in finding the voice within me as well as helping me gain a whole new appreciation for the song itself; that, and volunteering at Godfrey Daniels Coffeehouse in Bethlehem. Godfrey Daniels has provided me with my first clear view of a music world I wasn't sure existed beforehand, but guessed had. My first experience seeing a bluegrass band included Tony Trischka's headstock over me while I sat in the audience ever-so close to the stage. I saw David Grisman play the mandolin for the first time, David Grier play guitar for the first time, Tony Rice play guitar. I listened to Norman and Nancy Blake play songs by the Carter Family, watched Townes Van Zandt spin his tales with the members of Son Volt sitting in the audience, met James Cotton, saw and spoke with John Gorka about a zillion times, including his reading of new songs out of his notebook on open-mic night, played with Tom Paxton, opened for John Hartford, listened to Jamie Brockett's road tales in the basement. But more than that, I could see and interact with all these incredible performers backstage , with their eccentricities and overall wonderfulnesses that taught me more than I had a right to know as a student of music and assured me it was alright to be me and play my music. But more importantly, it was the church social the way they should be, because I was afforded the opportunity to meet, play and progress musically and spiritually with some of the most wonderful people of my life. Thanks, Godfrey's, for the opportunity to dip my cup in the purest well of water. I began doing local radio shows on several stations in there area, the last being "Acoustic Wonders" on the then-new WDIY-FM and just generally learned what the business was about. Then change, one of life's few constants. I swear, if you can embrace change you got most of life licked.

I decided to move to State College, Pennsylvania in late '94 and went solo, or more correctly started performing shows that contained all or mostly my own material with upright bassist Bill Stetz. Bill quickly became a trusted ally as we bashed at it week after week in and around the town of Penn State University. It wasn't until after we enlisted Dana Hawk on drums and Todd Bartolo, a lap-steel player from back home in the Reading area did we start gaining some minor attention in the guise of Kris Kehr and Stone Poets. Todd was soon replaced by James Harton on keys and Dave Mudgett on pedal-steel and we decided to record an album locally. The project gained some attention, most notably that of ex-Bearsville Studios engineer Tom Edmonds who signed on as co-producer and brought to the recording table the talents of Cindy Cashdollar, George Laks, Craig Ross and Jim Weider, amongst others, to complete "Long, Long Year". It was at this time I began Woobie Cat Records to oversee its release and my future albums. As Stone Poets continued to perform regularly in State College and all around Pennsylvania, we acquired local veteran drummer Jack Wilkinson and singer Kelly Countermine and recorded "Kris Kehr And Stone Poets", another collection of my songs that I produced myself, this time with just the band and no guest artists. We began doing some shows at some of the larger venues in town both as features and as openers for the likes of BR549, Dickie Betts Band, Southern Culture On The Skids, Drive-By Truckers and The Recipe, which was a group out of nearby Morgantown, West Virginia who prided themselves on songwriting from a bluegrass/jamband kind of mentality. My favorite gigs in State College remain the stripped-down acoustic ones at the venue where the Stone Poets woodshedded, Zeno's ... still my favorite joint in town.

Well, the Recipe ran into some lineup difficulties which led leader Joe Prichard to employ me as a guest side musician for a few gigs. And again, change was in the air for all those involved. I ended up joining the touring group permanently and moving to the beautiful area of western North Carolina, where I reside today. After almost 2 years of constant touring, an album of live recordings called "All You Can Eat" was released on Harmonized Records in the fall of 2003. Engineered and mixed by Tim Steigler and compiled and edited by yours truly, "All You Can Eat" is a collection of memorable performances of both Recipe 'classics' and newer tunes, including two of mine – "Breaking Out" and "Mountain Top Blues".

In the summer of 2004 I decided to permanently leave The Recipe. My time in The Recipe has been some of the most exciting and fulfilling music-making in my life ... I got to play with some first rate musicians every night and got to jam with Mike Gordon from Phish, Tom Constanten and Vince Welnic from The Grateful Dead, musicians from such wonderful younger bands such as Railroad Earth, Max Creek, Bluestring and The Big WU and with countless other talented musicians from various bands as part of the spiritually fulfilling Everyone Orchestra held for 2 days in Cincinnati early in 2003; I composed music in an ensemble kind of way for the first time and made a whole bunch of beautiful friends both professionally and personally all over the place, not to mention the zillion cool rooms and festivals we got to make some music for. All good things, plus I learned a few things NOT to do as I now endeavor to make more personal music on my own terms ... and also that change isn't a means unto itself but a gateway to what comes next in the natural progression of things.

For the next year and a half bassist Chris Q and myself performed and recorded as the duo LOWdOGS. Former Hypnotic Clambake, Jiggle & Recipe bassist Chris Q and myself covered more than a few miles together while on tour in The Recipe. It seemed only natural that we would forge ahead together afterward. Both of us loved Hot Tuna as a duo as well as the years Jerry Garcia toured with JGB bassist John Kahn as a duo. We both love bluegrass and traditional music as well as modern approaches to old ways; the result was the 2005 Woobie Cat Release “Lowdogs- In The Tall Grass”. A totally live album, it would have broke down nicely on vinyl with an acoustic duo half recorded at Godfrey Daniel’s and a quartet half that included drummer Greg Vasso & guitarist Scott Murawski. I also started developing material and performing with ex-Recipe singer Julie Edlow.

In the fall of 2005 Julie & I decided to move back to Pennsylvania and the area I grew up, Berks County. I began playing with one of my first musical compatriots, bassist Craig Burkey as well as with Julie. I also reassembled Stone Poets with Dave Mudgett, John Kennedy, James Harton & Jack Wilkinson and perform regularly as a soloist. I continue to write and record as well as produce my weekly internet radio program "Black Mountain Underground" for www.HOMEGROWNRADIONJ.com which is broadcast mondays at noon.


            Catch Kris' weekly internet radio show. Mondays at noon.      
all content © 1998-2014 by Kris Kehr  (unless otherwise noted)
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