Kirk Kelly

Although he has only recorded sporadically, folk-rocker Kirk Kelly has been a fixture on Manhattan's Lower East Side since the 1980s. The Greenwich Village resident first received a taste of national exposure in 1988, when he recorded his debut solo album, Go Man Go, for SST. At the time, some people were surprised to see a Bob Dylan-influenced folk-rocker recording for a label that was best known for punk and alternative rock. But when you really think about it, Kelly's brief association with SST makes perfect sense. Kelly (who plays acoustic guitar and harmonica) writes a lot of angry political songs; that's something he has in common with Dylan, but it's also something he has in common with agitators like the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and the Dead Kennedys. Further, Kelly has been part of an East Coast movement known as anti-folk -- essentially, anti-folk is folk-rock with a punk attitude. New York singer/songwriter Lach is considered the king of anti-folk, and Kelly has been among his Lower East Side allies. In fact, Lach and Kelly recorded together as the Folk Brothers in 1985, providing a cassette-only release titled All Folked-Up With Nowhere to Go. But it wasn't until 1988's Go Man Go that Kelly recorded an album as a solo artist. Go Man Go turned out to be Kelly's only SST release; the singer/songwriter didn't record another solo album until 1997, when the very sociopolitical New City came out on Mugsy Records. The early 2000s found Kelly continuing to perform regularly in New York. ~ Alex Henderson

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