KEVIN WATKINS – Solo Act – Guitar
Bio: Kevin’s songs defy categorization, authority, social norms, or sometimes even common sense. Kevin works hard to craft songs that are palatable and worthy of a listen (or two). His deserted island jukebox would include “I’d Love to Change the World,” by Ten Years After, “Wicked Game,” by Chris Isaak, “Lo Siento mi Vida,” by Linda Ronstadt, “Wild Horses,” by the Rolling Stones, to name a few. Inspirations include ancestral genealogy, road trips, Fannie Pierce, and “mama, trains, trucks, prison, and gettin’ drunk,” with an appreciative nod to Steve Goodman. It’s tough writing songs that approach such heights, but, being obstinate, persistent, and maybe mostly delusional, he keeps trying!
Two friends recommended me to Marshall, as I was unaware of the local festival! I quickly answered the call out for performers and was lucky enough to be selected to play! At my neighbor’s porch no less! The concept immediately struck me as a good one, with tons of promise.
I’m lucky enough to live in West Central; I moved here after my landlord made it impossible to stay at my apartment in the Chief Garry district. So when Kendall Yards began developing, I took the plunge and bought a townhouse here. Boy, was that a shrewd move!!
I moved to Spokane to study Occupational Therapy @ EWU. There I learned a framework for understanding how a person interacts with their environment, including “community.” It includes the physical surroundings, homes, businesses, gathering places, public utilities, and everything else you see, hear, and smell as you drive or walk along streets and pathways.
Community also includes the group of people and animals a person embraces in his/her life. Either at the workplace, in the homeplace, in leisure activities, and, especially important these days, in the extended, electronic life. Having no immediate family living here, community is especially important to me and requires that I constantly build and maintain the relationships which comprise “community.”
Building all varieties of community is best done in concert with other’s efforts; like playing music in a band, cleaning up trash along the street, watering a neighbor’s plants while they’re away, joining a church congregation, or any number of endeavors.
First, I know my neighbors; I recognize that, being retired, talking to and meeting new neighbors is a bit easier for me compared to most. I learned its importance, and most of the good things I’m able to do in life, from my parents. We exchange phone numbers, stories, and updates on important life matters. It makes everyone feel safer and more inclusive.
I’d like to organize regular get togethers; maybe dinner night, evening bike rides; but before I tackle too much, I need to get more organized at home! (that’s always been a chore; I’d rather help someone paint their house than clean my own!)
First, as a performer, I’d like to help neighbors and visitors to get to know each other. Like having a good set list and playing good music, engaging the folks who are kind enough to stop by and listen and say “Hi.” I’d like for the porch hosts, neighbors and visitors to say, “Hey, that was fun! I can’t wait for the next Porchfest! Maybe there’s a way I could participate.”
My dad used to say, “It doesn’t cost anything to be friendly.” For me, Moses himself couldn’t have said anything more profound! Being friendly to other folks is simple, though not always easy, especially when dealing with life’s potholes and speed bumps.
I believe Porchfest provides a great opportunity to practice what my dad preached! Also, porchfront art might foment a child’s creativity and/or desire to play an instrument or draw with a pencil or crayon or write some prose or appreciate an osprey or magpie or crescent moon. The possibilities are endless!