From The Shallows To The Deep

by Brian Koenigsknecht

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about

Pain, beauty, loss, redemption, renewal.

Few artists capture life’s travails and triumphs as penetratingly and as powerfully as Kalamazoo singer-songwriter Brian Koenigsknecht.

His appropriately titled latest album, “From the Shallows to the Deep,” stands as his masterwork – a dark yet uplifting musical journey through the highs and lows of Koenigsknecht’s struggle with bipolar disorder, coping with his father’s stroke and his “emotional connection” to the Earth and Michigan’s robust music community.

“My new album began as a suicide letter really,” says the veteran artist, who’s been performing for more than 30 years. “If I were gone tomorrow, how would I want people to remember me? I had almost given up on music, my family and life. Coming to terms with my depression and reaching out for help, I began to turn my life around. I turned to doctors for my bipolar disorder and my family for support and to the Kalamazoo music community for inspiration.”

The resulting project – recorded and produced by Brad Frank (Pillar to Post) at Knob and Tube Sound Studio in Kalamazoo – unfurls as an enchanting collection of deeply personal tunes that are at once melancholy and hopeful, enhanced by special musical guests from the region’s music scene: Samantha Cooper, Megan Dooley, Matthew Borr, Carrie McFerrin and many more.

Indeed, Koenigsknecht pays tribute to Michigan musicians in “Earthwork Songbirds,” a track inspired by the Earthwork Music collective’s annual Harvest Gathering: “I feel the Earthwork songbirds sing their precious parts … I hear the earth work in the sweetest harmony / We see the earth work and it isn’t just a dream / It isn’t just a dream.”

Koenigsknecht’s own dream has revolved around music since the age of 9 when his father and mentor taught him how to play Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” on guitar and harmonica. What followed were family performances at churches, festivals and schools, with Koenigsknecht starting to write music and play coffee houses while attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

Since moving to Kalamazoo in 1998, the singer-songwriter has established himself as in-demand act with a voice that’s been compared to Ray LaMontagne and David Gray, performing regularly at venues ranging from Bell’s Brewery to Kalamazoo State Theatre. He’s also a member of the band Pillar to Post.

“I write songs inspired by my life, the lives around me and a world that I am grateful for and feel is worth saving with the hope to move the listener to feel, to think, and to action,” he explains. “I consider myself a successful artist because at the age of 43 and in a state with so much talent, I am still performing weekly.”

And with the spotlight shining on his most compelling collection yet, Koenigknecht hopes to get those songs heard by as many fans as possible.

credits

released May 2, 2017

Recorded & Produced by Brad Frank
at Knob and Tube Sound Studio in Kalamazoo, MI
Mastered by Ian Gorman
at La Luna Recording & Sound in Kalamazoo, MI

Album Cover Art "Untitled" (Child with Bull) by Lance Moon
www.lancemoon.com

All songs written by Brian Koenigsknecht except for:
Earthwork Songbirds:
Written by Tony "T-Rex" Roth & Brian Koenigsknecht
1984 (Come What May):
Music by Geoff Stockton & Brian Koenigsknecht
Momma Blue:
Music by Chris Brill & Brian Koenigsknecht

Special Guest Musicians:

Matthew Borr: Electric Guitar
Samantha Cooper: Violin
Megan Dooley: Vocals & Whistling
John Ford: Piano
Brad Frank: Drums, Percussion & Slide Guitar
Jason Huber: Bass Guitar, Vocals & Electric Guitar
Aaron Humphrey: Electric Guitar
Brian Koenigsknecht: Acoustic Guitars, Harmonica & Vocals
Carrie McFerrin: Vocals
Mechele Peters: Vocals
Sheri Simah: Violin & Viola
Geoff Stockton: String Arrangements on 1984
Liz Youker: Cello

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about

Brian Koenigsknecht Kalamazoo, Michigan

Brian Koenigknecht is a Michigan treasure, that rare breed of singer-songwriter who can make you feel every human emotion – every tear, every smile – so intensely that you feel he’s written his songs about you. – John Sinkevics, LocalSpins.com

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Track Name: Nova
From far beyond my wildest dreams
You've shaken me from the dark
And you need every answer
I can tell that it's killing you to be in the dark
So are we free or kept in the dark?

I can't tell you how
Are you familiar with the birds and bees
Or the humming of a mystery?
I can't tell you why
But I will sing with you all the while if it makes you smile
Nova

And so we've danced in leaps and bounds
Spinning around with this rock
And you still need meaning
I can that tell it's killing you to keep your faith in a rock
It's both a heaven and a hell of a rock

All is fair in love, war and other one way trips
Of all the worlds I've seen
It was your face that launched my ship
It's you I'd go down with
Nova
Track Name: Earthwork Songbirds
Are we Gifts or Creatures in the night?
There's a Red Tail Ring around the harvest moonlight
I hear the Earthwork Songbirds sing their precious parts
I hear the Earthwork Songbirds in the fields of our hearts

We are the volunteers in the spirit of the honeybees
Our sweetness and vigor
Whether Airborne or Aquatic
We are part of something bigger

I feel the Earthwork Songbirds sing their precious parts
I feel the Earthwork Songbirds
In the wide open fields of our hearts

It's Heaven on a farm in Northern Michigan
On a Sunday evening
In the warm embrace of a moonlight lit stage
And the gift of listening...the gift of listening to a

Songbird, Songbird always loving you
Songbirds, Songbirds always loving you
I hear the earth work in the sweetest harmony
We see the earth work and it isn't just a dream
It isn't just a dream...
Track Name: April
So there you were
Just waiting in the station
So you're back in town
We've all been waiting around
Did you remember your sweater
It's still pretty cold
April welcome home

To a fool's parade and the winter's marching on
So Baby don't be shy and smile...
And bring these wildflowers back to life

You look lovely just as always
You're a breath of fresh air
Here's a bluebell for you hair
Nothing's changed much since you left us
Been kinda dead 'round here
But I can hear the distant cheers

Of a fool's parade and the winter's marching on
So Baby don't be shy and smile...
And bring these wildflowers back to life

Everybody loves you
It's just your way
Everybody needs you
So April wave

It's your parade and we're all marching on
So Baby don't be shy and smile...
And Bring us wildflowers back to life
Track Name: 1984 (Come What May)
I've got my morning jacket on
The path is wide and golden
I'm gonna take it just as long and far
As it's your hand I'm holding

If it's true of what they say about the April rain
Then the world's about to bloom...Come what May

Oh forgive me if I'm paranoid
My Darling it's been so long
But now the blood is rushing warm and hard to my heart
As a thrush bursts into song

If it's true of what they say about the April rain
Then the world's about to bloom

I'm floating over bluebell fields
The same fields that just held me
I'll meet you 'neath the twisted cross
Of the crooked roof's belfry...Come what May
Track Name: Momma Blue
For all we even know
While the climate changes
We're still sailing for the last plateau
Where war rages, world war rages

I'll keep my faith in you
It's only natural, it's only natural
I'll keep my faith in you
It's only natural
Momma Blue

I would never ask you the same
With everything we've put you through
While you're children still misbehave
In spite of you, despite you

I'll keep my faith in you
It's only natural, it's only natural
I'll keep my faith in you
It's only natural
Momma Blue

You'll be free of us someday soon
Track Name: The Wildest Things of All
There was freedom in the twilight of every avenue
All the plans flew out the window with the mix tape tunes
We were running down pleasure
In the heart of this small town zoo
My hand held only by midnight & you

Left to our own devices
My bona fide lovers and friends

There we were eye to eye
The night and us, instinct and trust, less fragile
There we were eye to eye
The wildest things of all

American Spirits and a 4th Coast cup of coffee drag
Out the buzz from the club with the Knee Deep Shag
We were running down pleasure
In the heart of Kalamazoo
My hand held only by midnight and you

There was freedom in the twilight of every avenue
All the plans flew out the window with the mix tape tunes
Track Name: Last Weekend
The morning is lonely since I gave you up
They're as cold as the coffee
In your abandoned cup
When all I want is you
I will stick to my guns
When all I want is you

I carry on with my routines though some I can't explain
Like why I drive down to the station
With my window down in the rain
When it comes down to you
I will stick to my guns
When it comes down to you...until they're up in smoke too

Every last time I see you again
Smoldering in our circle of friends
Every last time I see you again
Out on the last weekend

I'm so tired of the wanting, I'm so sick of the need
Seems I can't live without you but it's getting easier to breath
I'll get over you
If I stick to my guns
Then I'll get over you...unless they're up in smoke too

Every last time I see you again
Smoldering in our circle of friends
One more last time just to hold you again
Out on the last weekend

I've got so much more to live for

This morning is lonely since I gave you up
It's as cold as the coffee in your abandoned cup
Track Name: The Ghost & The Girl
Wild Flowers and love letter vows were wilting in the sun
Should have died from my wounded pride
As she held the smoking gun
I swore I'd never fall in love with her
But the stars were aligned
On this easy heart of mine
I've been out here running for cover

There's a ghost and a girl
And they found me again
On a lost highway
Through this unforgiving land
Love is a ghost and sadness a girl
I'm bound to fall off the end of the world

I broke down in a motel room 3 days out of Jamestown
Under whiskey and a memory
She danced in wearing a white wedding gown
I swore I'd never feel her skin again
But we were sweating and shaking
From the love we were making
Sunrise she was gone again

These are haunting days
At a roadside pawn shop I traded in her ring
For a piece of someone else's past
Track Name: One Last Thing Before I Go
One last thing before I go away for the record
I've been around enough to know
These are the days to remember
Will you remember

This stranger on a dark horse riding out the weather
Who covers every lonesome track
Just to loose you in the desert

For all we even know it's all on the record
For all we even know it's all on the record
It's all on the record

So we wrote another song, another drop of rain
into the ocean deep
Somehow it found it's way upon a wave,
Through the night and towards the light
In the house you keep

Even the smallest cast stone leaves ripples on the water
A song bird high up in the sun cast shadows even darker

On those who really know it's all on the record
For all we even know it's all on the record
It's all on the record

One last thing before I go away for the record
I had the most amazing time
These days I remember
Will you remember

From the shallows to the deep
You are the light in the house you keep