Call him an explorer. Kevin McMullin is a performer interested in boderlands that defy categorization. An enchanting entertainer, he uses storytelling, music and song to create performances that leave audiences delighted, spell-bound and wondering what to call his shows.
One thing is for sure. When Kevin gets on stage, he performs. His performances are an extraordinary combination of music and narrative, humor and drama, using traditional and original material that leaves listeners profoundly satisfied. The stories and music that he has collected from around the world resonate with audiences of every generation and background. His original material can be funny and poignant, often at the same time. He draws you in. Whether you're listening to him burn up a fiddle tune or relate the story of his Aunt Marge and Uncle Bill caught in a traffic jam, you find yourself losing track of where you are and who you're with. As Terry Visger, one of the Organizers of the LaCrosse Story Telling Festival, put it: "He is a wonderful storyteller and a great musician and he blends the two beautifully."
His newest show, Ice Cream Sundays, is a set of personal stories about growing up in the housing projects of Chicago. Exploring themes that include friendship, courage, marriage, loss and, ultimately, hope, the stories are about how transformation happens when we aren't even looking. They are sad, funny, connected and inspiring.
Minnesota Public Radio’s Nanci Olesen put it this way: "Kevin's stories are fresh and exciting! He charms the audience... (and is)... always a delight to listen to." Wisconsin story teller, Stuart Stotts put it more simply, "Kevin's story telling is fantastic." McMullin has brought his story telling and musical abilities to an incredibly wide ranged audience. He's wildly popular in schools and libraries. Old timers appreciate his sense of tradition and history. Nearly everyone loves his sense of fun and just plain nuttiness. And theater-goers can’t wait for his return. Event coordinators are hero for the day when Kevin’s in the house. It’s why he’s so often asked back.
In music school he studied tuba with the late Arnold Jacobs, widely considered to be one of the finest music teachers of his time. These days you're more likely to see Kevin singing an Appalachian ballad accompanied by an autoharp. Or crooning a jazzy original over his Taylor guitar. Often enough, it's his fiddle that's sparking on stage, playing the Beaumont Rag or a Celtic tune by O'Carolyn. He demonstrates more than a knack for other instruments as well, including the piano and a Chinese instrument called the erhu.
He's the co-founder and fiddle player for Duck for the Oyster, a traditional dance band that has gained a loyal and growing following since it's inception in 1989. He often joins jazz meister, Randy Sabien on stage and the two have released a recording, Cap a Cup of Dreams together. He is one third of the group Take 3, a trio that also includes Tom Draughon, and Lisa McGinley, musical impresarios in their own right. In addition, Kevin has appeared professionally with a slew of artists including Peter Ostroushko, Ken Kolodner, Laura Risk, and The Buffalo Gals. He has toured in Europe and Canada, performed at the Big Top Chautauqua, The Madison Civic Center, dozens of festivals, and the Loyal Public Library. (He loves small towns.)
Did we mention that he's released more than half a dozen CD's? That he's designed educational programs for museums and schools? That he's co-founder of both the Joining the Circle Dance Camp and the Northern Heritage Fiddle Contest? Well, you have to stop some time. And you can always go to his web site:
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