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Tim Krekel, Musician

Tim Krekel

“One of American rock ’n’ roll’s great unknowns.” That was the opinion of CD Review in awarding Tim Krekel a four-star review for his Appaloosa Records release Out of the Corner. Although Tim has remained largely “unknown” to the public in general, he is well known and respected by those in the music business. The list of artists who have performed, recorded, and collaborated with Tim is impressive and not bound by any genre. His songs have been recorded by Patty Loveless, Crystal Gayle, Rick Nelson, B.J. Thomas, Delbert McClinton, Aaron Tippin, Canned Heat, Martina McBride, Etta Britt, Marshall Chapman, Deanna Carter, Dr. Feelgood, Sam Bush, Jason and the Scorchers, and Kim Richey.

Born in Louisville in 1950, Tim began playing guitar and singing while still in grammar school. Throughout the mid-’60s, he played in bands in and around Louisville, gaining a reputation as a talented guitarist and singer. In the late ’60s, he and his band Dusty moved to New York, into the apartment left vacant by his friends in NRBQ. Work being scarce, he began to write in earnest.

In 1970, Tim moved back to Louisville. “We played ’most every Sunday night at this place called the Storefront Congregation,” he recalls. “There was always someone really good sittin’ in with us, like Sam Bush, who would bring his electric violin and tear the place up.” With Nashville only three hours down the road, it wasn’t long before he found work there as lead guitarist with Billy Swan of “I Can Help” fame. Tim toured for more than a year with Swan’s band, playing throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Tim and band When Swan’s tour ended, Tim moved to Nashville and was immediately hired by Jimmy Buffett. His guitar work backed Buffett for a year of touring plus recording. (That’s Tim playing slide guitar on “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”) Tim appeared with Buffett on Saturday Night Live and had a cameo role in the movie FM.

In 1979, Tim recorded Crazy Me with the Sluggers for Capricorn Records. Produced by Tony Brown, the record received critical acclaim. Rolling Stone said Tim and the Sluggers were “a power trio to be reckoned with.” Throughout the early ’80s, the Sluggers toured the country performing with the likes of Carl Perkins, the Blasters, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In 1984, Crystal Gayle recorded Tim’s “Turning Away,” and the song hit the top of the country charts.

In 1986, Arista Records offered Tim a recording contract. The result was the critically acclaimed album Over the Fence. This time Rolling Stone said, “It’s Krekel’s craftmanship as a songwriter that earns the Sluggers a place alongside ZZ Top, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughan as a roots-based guitar band that matters.”

The Italian record company Appaloosa Records released Out of the Corner in 1991. By then, Tim had acquired a dedicated following in the U.S. and in Europe. Over the next few years, he collaborated with such artists as Bo Diddley, Delbert McClinton, Skeeter Davis, Steve Forbert, Lonnie Mack, Sam Bush, and Mark Germino. It was with Germino in 1989 that Tim made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.

Tim Krekel band In 1993, Tim returned to Louisville and formed a new band, the Groovebillys, with some old friends: Jim Baugher on bass, Dave Marasco on drums, and guitarist Jim Wilson. Violinist Peter Rhee replaced Wilson in 1996, adding vocal harmonies that gave the band new energy. Tim Krekel and the Groovebillys became one of the area’s most popular bands.

Tim also continued to foster his connections in Music City. They paid off in 1997 with a number-one hit, “You Can Feel Bad,” recorded by Patty Loveless, followed by another hit, “Cry on the Shoulder of the Road,” recorded in 1998 by Martina McBride.

Also in 1998, Tim and the Groovebillys released their debut album on the ear X-tacy label, L&N. It quickly became the best-selling record in Louisville, outselling national releases. David Dye featured one of the songs on World Café, a nationally syndicated program of Public Radio International.

In December of 1999, Tim and the Groovebillys released Underground, their second album and Tim’s most anticipated yet. Underground hit number one in local sales its first week. The Courier-Journal called it “pure Krekel, which means pure gold” and said of Tim: “He’s one of the best at writing about how rock ’n’ roll makes you feel, how it informs you ... It’s a great record.”

Program 213

Tonight's show is all about writers. We will meet Ruthie Maslin, Executive Director, Kentucky Writers' Coalition; Kathleen Driskell, President, Kentucky Writers' Coalition; Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, Author; Sarah Gorham, President and Editor-in-Chief, Sarabande Books;Tim Krekel, Singer/Songwriter, "Tim Krekel & the Groovebillys". We also took our Mixed Media cameras out and followed Rochelle Riley to explore more Kentucky authors. (#213)

Program 532

Curt Tofteland of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Lexington conceptual artist Louie Bickett, and Louisville singer-songwriter Tim Krekel. (#532)

Program 821

Textile artist Jan Darnell, painter and printmaker Barbara Stallard, painter Shayne Hull, the art of Japanese Kabuki makeup, and music by Bodeco and Tim Krekel. (#821)


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