“Powers is something of an anomaly. She’s like the music scene’s version of the protagonist in the film, “The Natural,” having spent the “prime of her career” out of the spotlight — in her case, tending to her family — only to return from absolutely nowhere to wow and amaze. Where Robert Redford made all the fans sit up and cheer with mammoth home runs, Kerri Powers is going to make people listening to this album do the exact same thing with exceptional song writing and equally exceptional delivery.” — Chip McCabe, Lonesome Noise
Kerri Powers was destined to be a musician from the start. While most kids her age spent their childhoods following frivolous pursuits, she spent hers reading, painting, writing stories, learning guitar and composing her first songs at the tender age of nine. By her own admission, she was a shy child, but her creative pursuits gave her an appreciation of the larger world around her. Those instincts seemed to have been bred naturally, given that there was undeniable talent embedded in her genes. Bing Crosby was a distant relative on her father’s side, while her mother’s relatives were said to be descended from author Herman Melville. Notably too, Powers’ paternal grandmother made her living by playing piano and providing musical accompaniment for silent films, making her a show business standby back in the day.
Not surprisingly then, Powers was encouraged to pursue her own creative ambitions while still in adolescence. Her mother, a talented visual artist in her own right, owned an extensive record collection, which gave Kerri her initial exposure to irrefutable icons like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and John Prine. “I would sit in a wicker rocking chair by the record player and sing along to the songs,” she recalls. “I remember hearing John Prine’s “Hello in There” for the first time and feeling that something magical was happening. It was a momentary yet memorable trip to a sad but hopeful place of lonely old faces.”
Powers started playing professionally in local coffeehouses throughout her native New England, and went on to release several well-received albums in the new millennium, culminating in Faith in the Shadows in 2009. Two of her songs were later featured on the Fox series “Rescue Me” starring Denis Leary. After taking time off to get married and raise her young son she returned to performing, counting among her credits the Boston Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival, among other prestigious gatherings. She’s also toured Europe while opening for Canadian singer/songwriter Fred Eaglesmith in The Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
This flurry of activity recently culminated in a new self-titled album, her first effort in five years. With a track list that includes eight searing self-penned songs along with incisive covers of Janis Ian’s “Jesse,” and The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” it ranks as Powers’ most accomplished collection to date. “The recording was a last minute decision,” she recalls. “The idea was to cut a couple of tracks simply to see how it would go.”
The results – a sound that’s homespun, sparse and understated — provide another ideal showcase for Powers’ intimate and expressive song writing, as well as her adroit ability to interpret the works of others.
Fully reenergized and excited about rebooting her career, Powers is looking forward to a return to touring both here and overseas. Clearly, the creative spark that was ignited so early on is fully fuelled once again.