“The Amy Tan of the singer/songwriter world.” -Recording Magazine
If Bruce Lee were alive today, quit acting and started singing, he would be Kevin So. Put James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, and Billy Joel all together… and you get Kevin So.
With nearly 20,000 CDs sold worldwide, Kevin So brings forth his latest effort, the intimately acoustic “Best Foot Forward.” So has released an album almost every year for the past 13 years.
“With ‘Best Foot Forward,’ I wanted to do a 180°, like many of my musical heroes. I’d released 2 full length studio albums with drums, bass, electric guitars, keyboards, background vocals, and horns. I’d toured all around the U.S., and Hong Kong, with various rhythm sections comprised of some of the best working musicians in town (New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Philadelphia). This time around, I want to give back something to the fans who have stuck by me since my ‘folkie’ days (1995-2002). It is something they’ve always said they love best - me solo acoustic. So that’s what this is.”
Recorded in September 2008 in only three days, “Best Foot Forward” captures the essence of Kevin So in his most intimate and perhaps most vulnerable setting – solo acoustic. Never one to repeat himself, So puts forth a collection of 15 never-before-recorded original songs (17 for digital release). Included are the politically charged “Letter From Guantanamo,” the anthemic and socially relevant “Stronger Side By Side,” a post break-up “Forever Friend,” and the soul-searching “Hollywood, Cherokee & Vine” – the latter two recorded and mixed in Nashville by longtime friend Russell Wolff. “Best Foot Forward” marks the reunion of So and Steve Rapson, producer of So’s debut CD, “Pendulum,” in 1996.
“For the past 5 years, it’s been me pretty much on the keyboards backed by my band (Midnight Snack), and often with a horn section. But this time I wanted to get back to the ol’ acoustic. Touring solo and opening for Keb’ Mo’ gave me a lot of affirmation – that this is what I do best right now. More importantly, it’s something I’m learning to love again. It really does feel like this is, overall, my best foot forward.”
“Keep your eyes on the future
The sun is rising up ahead
They say the grass is always greener
You can’t go living with regret
Leave the rest behind
Leave the rest behind
Put your best foot forward
Leave the rest behind
-from “Best Foot Forward”
About Kevin So…
In over a decade of performing his music around the country, Kevin So has earned the respect of fellow musicians (Keb' Mo', Amos Lee), won over members of press and radio, and has built a loyal fan base across the US.
Born and raised in Boston, So channeled his early passion for singing into the start of a career in music with his appearance on the nationally broadcasted TV show "Big Break" hosted by Natalie Cole. In 1994, So toured the country in a cover band that would later see some of its members moving on to Britney Spears' band. It was during that period when Kevin spent a considerable amount of time listening to the early recordings of Bob Dylan.
By 1995, So quit the band and became a regular on the open-mic scene in Cambridge. His strong musicianship caught the attention of a Boston Globe critic who wrote that Kevin was "unusually talented." At the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, an Austin Chronicle columnist took notice, writing that So was "the big discovery." The sophomore release of So's "Individual" in 1997 was accompanied by sold-out shows at the legendary Club Passim. So moved to Chicago in 1999, booked his own gigs, performing shows in the Midwest and elsewhere. Busking in Austin the following year, Kevin was then discovered by The Agency Group. Subsequently, he opened for Joe Cocker, Billy Bragg, and Robben Ford.
In 2001, So moved back to Boston. Musically, he was shifting from folk to a more pop/r&b sound. The day after September 11, 2001, Kevin connected with popular bluesman Keb' Mo' and co-wrote "Talk," which Keb' would eventually record. So continued touring in 2002, becoming a favorite performer for several colleges and Asian American organizations across the US. The double-disc "Leaving The Lights On" appeared to an avalanche of praise in 2003 and throughout most of 2004, with some critics calling it "a masterpiece." Then, with two more CDs under his belt (The So Must Go On in 2005 and "A Brighter Day" in 2007), So toured at a vigorous clip.
In the summer of '07, Kevin was recipient of the "Overall Excellence Award" (Outstanding Music & Lyrics) for his work in "VICTOR WOO: THE AVERAGE ASIAN AMERICAN," a musical loosely based on his life. It debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival to packed houses. Kevin stayed on the road in 2007 and 2008, both as bandleader and as a solo act, opening for Keb’ Mo’ on several occasions. His highly anticipated solo acoustic release "Best Foot Forward" is supported by concert dates this year.
Here's what people are saying about Kevin...
"Kevin So is beginning to do what Guthrie did for Dust Bowl refugees and Dylan for the '60s generation. He presents his life and times in brash strokes of insight, wit, and empathy.” -The Boston Globe
“An original talent and tremendous performer.” -Billy Bragg
"Guitar picking that put the holes back into the music... Well-crafted balladry and a silky Stevie Wonder-ish tenor that held the audience entranced.” -Austin Chronicle
"You're the one." -Keb' Mo'
"The new hardest working man in show business" -WFUV-FM
"You really inspired me." -Martin Sexton
“Not many entertainers have the depth of storytelling that Kevin So has – and the voice to bring it all out” -Northwest Indiana Times
“He’s the man !... He’s the man !” -Richie Havens
"His songs tell tales of other lives and sketch graceful pictures of momentary city life... So is already a craftsman, and his gifts are burgeoning." -The Boston Herald
“Kevin So is the MOST !” -Mary Lou Lord
“He's for real… a strong bid for national buzz.” -Music-Critic.com
"Stunning... an amazing grasp of songwriting. His voice has a startling quality that immediately gains your attention, and later, your respect."
For more information, please visit the official website: http://www.KevinSo.com