Like many others, this musical voyage begins with an emphatic piano teacher, repeatedly placing a child’s finger onto the correct note (or note she wanted him to play). Born into a family of many generations of musicians, Kevin found his way to music at an early age. An electric guitar given to Kevin for his eighteenth birthday provided a tool to help him on his path to creative sonic power. By no means were the early stages of playing guitar easy.
Now, 17 years later, Kevin plays guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, lap steel, steel drums, banjo, baritone ukulele, a little tenor saxophone and is currently studying the musical saw. Kevin writes and records songs with his wife, Rachael, whom he met playing music at a yacht club in Marina del Rey. Kevin and Rachael can still be found playing the occasional gig as “The Pugh’s”. Kevin occasionally has the opportunity to accompany Un Young Chong’s big band called Happy Music. Learning standards from Sousa to Ellington have kept Kevin grounded and helped him understand that there is always room for learning more about music. Learning more about music has inspired Kevin to host numerous jam sessions in the LA area bringing many different people and styles together.
Kevin has performed in Dan Reutter’s comedy/music extravaganza “3 Chords & a Dirty Mouth” since 2000, performing at such venues as the Laugh Factory, The Hollywood Improv, The Ice House, IO West, The Knitting Factory, The Cat Club and the infamous Crooked Bar shows (located inside the defunct The Coconut Teaszer). In addition, Kevin has sat in with various bands around town for live shows.
About four years ago, Kevin took up home brewing. In between frequent visits to the recording studio, he has made over 96 gallons of various ales which he calls “Pugh Brew™”. Listen for beer references in his songs and take a sip every time you hear a “suds” reference…at least that what he does. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you as much as it inspires Kevin!
To define Kevin Pugh’s musical styling one must be prepared to embark on a journey, spanning several genres and decades of musical expression. At its heart, Kevin’s music is grounded in the fundamentals of folk pop. In his debut album “Get It”, Kevin finds himself experimenting in many different genres that peak his interest. From the first track, inspired by epic movie scores, Chicago blues, to the sitars, musical saws, standard instruments, wah-wah guitars, bongos, ragtime and bluegrass, no curiosity is left untapped. Above all else, Kevin is about enjoying music and sharing all that it can bring. Kevin defines himself as a musician who “takes music from his brain and puts it in your ears.” To understand Kevin, sit down with a craft beer and/or homebrew, a plate of fancy cheese, turn your lights down low, crank up the album and “Get It”.
For more information on Kevin Pugh, please re-read this bio.
Press Play: Homespun surprise in Kevin Pugh’s ‘Get It’
By Paul Liberatore
Marin Independent Journal
01/18/2013 06:20:00 AM PST
This homespun CD is a pleasant musical surprise, a tuneful, clever, lighthearted debut from Marin native Kevin Pugh.
Pugh, who grew up in Marinwood and went to Terra Linda High, has been living in Los Angeles for the past dozen years, but he’ll always be a Marin kid at heart.
In 1982, when he was 6, he made legendary columnist Herb Caen’s column as an “only in Marin” item. When his teacher asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he replied “I want to work for the Disney Corporation because I own part of it in stocks.”
Since 2000, Pugh has performed in Dan Reutter’s comedy/music extravaganza “3 Chords & a Dirty Mouth” in Southern California. His brand of wry humor comes through in songs like “Breaking Waves,” a novelty tune about falling in love with a humpback whale. Remember Humphrey?
He teams with his wife, Rachael, on the delightful “Ocean of Love.” She sings like a rock star on Kurt Cobain’s “All Apologies,” a driving shuffle that is the only cover on the 10-track CD.
Pugh plays guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, lap steel, drums, banjo, baritone ukulele, tenor saxophone and musical saw, so there’s a danger of doing a Spike Jones imitation. But, with drummer Andy Kozar and bassist Rich Cashman on some of the tracks, he manages to create intriguing textures with all those sounds, borrowing influences from the Beatles on the song “Sunday,” for example, and from movie music on instrumentals like “Serrano Serenade” and “Call It Awesome.”
Pugh has an ear for melody, which lifts him above most debut musicians, and he knows how to catch the ear of listeners hearing him for the first time. On “Get It,” you could say, he gets it.
MATTHEW FORSS REVIEW
Kevin Pugh’s “Get It” Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)
The multi-instrumentalist and talented, comedic vocalist, Kevin Pugh, incorporates a variety of instruments on his debut album, Get It. Some of the following instruments, including the guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, accordion, harmonica, steel drums, lap steel, and baritone ukulele, are used on the new album. The folk-rock experimentalism of Kevin’s music is downright amazing, especially with the vocal talents of his wife, Rachael Pugh. The ten tracks traverse alternative worlds of folk, rock, blues, indie, and experimental rock with a vocal presence unmatched by others in similar genres.
“Sunday” opens with a jangly guitar and keyboard tones that are crystalline and buzzy at the same time. The folksy guitar medley matches Kevin’s poppy vocals. The buzzing noise accompanies a sweeping tonal rhythm that ebbs-and-flows from low to high registers. The music is interrupted with the wavering B3 sounds and the wah-wah sounds of guitars from the 1960s or 70s. The song ends with a bunch of static as the instruments fade out together. The pop-driven song is a mix of Sugar Ray’s lighter fan-fare, as well as a stripped-down incarnation of Stone Temple Pilots and Marcy’s Playground’s “Pigeon Farm.” Despite the uncanny characterizations, the song soars with warm, aural tones that are not at all incongruent or cumbersome.
“Ocean Of Love” features folksy guitar at the onset and Rachael Pugh’s heartfelt vocals that add a touch of poetic blues to the mix. The jangly guitars and rootsy percussion suggests a slight throwback to the acoustic guitar pop songs of the 1970s. The quaint and intimate guitar picking is top-notch and a breeze to listen to. Rachael hits all cylinders with a fine delivery, soaring range, and catchy lyrics.
“La Flor” opens with a raspy sound, distant guitar, and experimental noise that bleeds into Kevin’s vocals. Kevin’s voice is plaintive, but the electric guitar adds a few notes to offset the acoustic guitar sounds and keyboard notes. The slightly electronic voicings are ear-friendly and ballad-esque without sounding too overt. The piano and raspy noises reappear mid-song, before a quirky noise medley takes over for a moment. However, the result is not as poor as it sounds, since the song changes melody and instrumentation throughout. In fact, “La Flor” is one of the best songs on the album, because it showcases diversity and melodic catchiness.
“Serrano Serenade” opens with a seemingly French introduction with a little static, before the song opens up into a French café instrumental medley with droning accordions, acoustic guitar, brushy percussion, and sparkling keyboard tones of magic. The medley picks up speed mid-song, but it still keeps a jaunty rhythm indicative of an early 1900s black-and-white international film soundtrack. At any rate, “Serrano Serenade” is a classy and classic song that fits Kevin’s musical style to a tee without sounding overdone or pretentious.
“Breaking Waves (The Humpback Whale Song)” begins with a pensive acoustic guitar and Kevin’s comedic voicings about falling in love with a humpback whale. Despite the lyrical comedy, which is very appropriate, the song incorporates folksy guitars and rock percussion that include a full-blown electric guitar solo and reverberating B3 sounds.
Get It is not the usual folk rock album available today. For example, Kevin utilizes comedic lyrics on some songs with catchy, folk-rock guitar-driven compositions that are not necessarily pop-centered, but they still retain a sense of pop overall. The incredible musicianship of “Sunday,” “La Flor,” and “Ocean Of Love” solidifies Kevin and Rachael’s commitment to folk-pop music idioms with diverse instrumentation and sounds. The extreme catchiness of several songs will surely grab the attention of all those that ‘get it.’
Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)