The Kalamazoo singer-guitarist’s latest album is spotlighted by Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuts tracks by Larry McCray, Avalon Cutts-Jones, Chirp, DL Rossi & more. The story and podcast.
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Life is full of “the dirty work” that needs to be done to make it through the day, manage a career, raise a family, create a piece of art.
That’s the underlying motif to Kalamazoo singer-songwriter Brian Koenigsknecht’s new studio album, “The Dirty Work,” propelling many of the tracks that have an upbeat musical vibe but dark lyrical overtones.
“The dirty work really is for me just the hard work that goes into anything, and a lot of people don’t see it – especially with musicians or any kind of art,” Koenigsnecht told Local Spins.
“We forget how hard life is for everybody, no matter how great it looks. The dirty work is really what goes into something beautiful.”
Interestingly, Koenigsknecht’s latest, beautiful studio project just started out as “a collection of fun rock songs” recorded with his longtime drummer Brad Frank, bassist Jason Huber and guitarist Abe Savas. But lyrically, he said, “the truth rises to the top.”
“I do end up finding myself bringing up the darker themes. I can’t sugarcoat things when I’m writing,” the singer and guitarist conceded.
“I may start off writing a poppy love song, but it always ends up reaching for and ultimately discovering these caves where my demons and skeletons rest. I have to be honest.”
As such, “The Dirty Work” – the follow-up to 2020’s “Healing Bridges,” which was released in the wake of his father’s death – explores those murkier moments and encumbrances.
“I really struggled with the pandemic, my mental health, my father’s death and the stress of taking care of my family. I became dependent on alcohol more,” he recalled. “The album’s songs really are about coming to an understanding, forgiving and then healing.”
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Koenigsknecht shared two songs from the album released last week – the title track and “Ship in a Bottle.” Scroll down to listen to the songs, the full interview and radio show podcast.
LISTEN: “Callus (The Hands of Time),” Brian Koenigsknecht (from “The Dirty Work”)
Koenigsknecht, 48, will stage a seated album-release show for “The Dirty Work” on April 22 (Earth Day) at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, performing his new and older songs solo. Fellow Kalamazoo singer-songwriter and “kindred spirit” Darcy Wilkin will open the evening. Tickets are $12 in advance and available here.
He plans to record the concert, with hopes of releasing a live album on vinyl.
While he loves to perform and maintains he’s excited about this intimate upcoming show, he said this might be his last public appearance for quite some time. He noted there’s “some anxiety” associated with playing live and that music “has not always been positive” in terms of its influence on his life.
Still, Koenigsknecht trusts that the insightful and deeply personal music he’s created and released over the past two decades has had a positive impact on listeners.
“I’ve always been real honest with my writing,” he said. “I wanted to make people feel like they’re not alone. I just hope it reaches somebody and they feel less alone. That’s all I’ve really ever wanted.”
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE – which showcases local and regional artists at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE 88.1 FM and online at wyce.org – also debuted new music by Larry McCray, DL Rossi, Carrie McFerrin, Avalon Cutts-Jones, Steve Rivers, The Soods, Ron St. Germain and Chirp, as well as a track by Wilkin (Koenigsknecht’s musician’s pick of the day). Listen to the radio show here.
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