This Is Cross Kentucky
Illinois-born Ken Wenzel is a study in contradictions: a guitarist who plays saxophone, a singer who writes instrumentals, a purveyor of restless sentimentality who continues to search for truths best found within. As a singer-songwriter now based in Washington DC, Ken has been gaining attention locally and regionally with his midwestern-accented musings, telling stories spun from a life spent moving from town to town. These sentiments are starkly represented on 'This is cross Kentucky', his first solo acoustic EP release. The title refers to the effort to bring together, under one name and guise, two distinct sides of his musical personality: the newly-found solo singer-songwriter, and the jazz & blues trained saxophonist. Tinged in Americana and country jazz, the EP is a stripped-down, 7-song examination of desires and dreams both past and present. Featuring Ken's dusty, wheat-cracked voice and foregoing the saxophone, "cross Kentucky" showcases the perspective and passions of a newly-arrived, yet already mature singer/songwriter - one with a somewhat different story and background than most. Born and raised in Champaign, Illinois, Ken studied classical saxophone at the University of Illinois before graduating from UNLV in Las Vegas, NV with a degree in jazz studies. Since then, he's played all over the world: in Las Vegas casinos, on cruise ships in Northern Europe, Africa, and Asia, at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, on national tours of Broadway musicals, and at festivals including the 2004 Montreux Jazz Festival. As a saxophonist, Ken is an in-demand freelancer, having played with artists both locally and nationally- including, among others, Frankie Avalon, Ben Vereen, Bobby Parker, and Carlos Santana. He maintains an active performance schedule while pursuing his solo songwriting career.