When Kaki King plays her big old Ovation guitar, she plays every part of it—hitting, picking, beating, strumming and coaxing notes and rhythm from every corner of the instrument. King’s unique style comes as no surprise, given that as a kid growing up in Atlanta the first instrument she opted to learn was the drums. She turned to the guitar at age eleven, and as a teenager discovered Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Preston Reed (who she’s often compared to) and other finger-style guitar masters.
King moved to New York and after graduating from NYU’s music program, she gigged mostly as a drummer. But it was busking with her guitar in the subways that lead to her solo success. "The subways gave me stamina," she says. "To play for two hours in an ugly environment is very challenging.” It also got her noticed. Her first recording was made to meet the demand of her commuter customers. Since then, the guitarist/composer has recorded five diverse and distinctive LPs, performed with the Foo Fighters, Timbaland and The Mountain Goats, and contributed to film and TV soundtracks. If you haven’t heard about Kaki King before now, you’re about to find a new guitar hero.