Three descriptive definitions that encapsule the life of singer/songwriter Kenny Harlan.
Born Kenneth Harlan Sachs, he was raised by working-class parents, just a stone’s throw (or two) away from Wrigley Field in Chicago. Being a Cubs fan was in his genes. So was an all-around athleticism (baseball, football and basketball) and a burning desire to fulfill his musical calling. After harmonizing with the junior high chorus, Kenny’s first taste of what would later become his life’s ambition came when he and two of his buddies entered a school talent show, with rousing renditions of “Rock Around the Clock” and “Crocodile Rock.”
The songs, while still raw and rough around the edges to Kenny’s liking, were every bit about who he was and what he wanted to communicate. From that point on, he picked up the music he had once so reluctantly laid down and began pursuit of his dream.
After moving to Nashville, he met his soon-to-be wife, Marina (a Ukraine native) while on a connecting flight to Munich. When you see Kenny in concert, look around the room. Somewhere, you’ll find Kenny’s biggest fan, as both she and Kenny share a love of music and the open road. As a matter of fact, if you listen closely to Kenny’s debut CD, you’ll hear snapshots of Kenny’s life, painting pictures of broken relationships (“Letting You Go”), unrequited and requited love (“Amsterdam”, “Thing About Love”) and longing for the girl of his dreams (“Waiting for You”). The Beatles, Genesis, James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg . . . these powerhouse acts have had a profound influence on Kenny, not so much in style, as in the ability to craft a song with lilting pop/acoustic/rock melodies and memorable hooks.
Simple, but never simplistic, these are songs that encompass chords you can play and choruses you can sing along with.
That’s Kenny Harlan music. Real. Genuine. And from the heart.