I started playing the guitar when I was 13. My brother was self-taught on the guitar and taught me some chords and finger picking patterns of some songs by one of our favorites, Peter, Paul and Mary. Just before I turned 16 we lost our mother, and for financial reasons I decided to sell the horses and eventually dropped out of 4-H. Horses would become part of my life again, but during my horseless years, my interest took an entirely new direction and I turned all my attention to music.
My long time school friend Patti and I decided we were going to be “folk singers” and practiced at each other’s homes and on the bus ride to and from school! As teenagers during the folk era and Beatlemania, music was largely what brought us together. As a duo we participated in a few local talent shows at Christmas time and at the college we attended. Music was a part of our lives from that point on. However, life happens; college was where she met her fiance. When I graduated high school I worked with my dad at his home-based business as a type setter, until I got married in 1973, and had the first of two children the following year. Patti and I remained friends and lovers of music, but our families intervened and we went our separate ways.
I was a stay-at-home mom, but played my guitar every day, advancing to songs by John Denver and Jim Croce. I also wrote a few songs of my own. I dreamed of being on stage, but due to family obligations and no singing partner I thought those days were gone.
In 1977 I learned of a country show called Country Family Jubilee in Lee’s Summit not far from my home. My mother-in-law and I were asked to sing on the end of the season’s open mic night. When I walked in “the old red barn” (converted to an opry show) and heard that live country band on stage, I knew that was what I had been looking for! However, a couple of years later, the red barn was destroyed, making way for a new land development and I thought the door to performing was closed again. But the Country Family Jubilee was where I met Byron Jones, who had his own opry in Richmond, Missouri, and later the Northtowne Opry. I had the privilege of appearing on his show in Richmond as a contestant and meeting many wonderful local musicians. Praise the Lord for venues such as these!
Unbeknownst to me, during this time, Patti’s love for music wasn’t cast to the wayside either, and she started singing professionally. She was part of the “Dick and Patti Savoy” duo. You can find them on Youtube under “banjo bash”.
After the Country Family Jubilee closed my husband and I moved to Lone Jack. In 1980, after learning about the death of Beatle John Lennon, Patti and I re-kindled our friendship. A couple of years later, as my schedule allowed, I joined a country band, became a member of the Kansas City Songwriter’s Association, and took the stage name “Barbara K”. All six songs that I entered in their showcase passed the audition for KCSA’s annual showcase three years in a row; 1994, ’95 and ’96. (There was a limit of two songs per song writer each year.) This is where I met George Tomcso of the Fireballs (“Sugar Shack” fame). He was a judge one year, and a contestant the following year. Byron Jones was also a contestant and came in first place one year. So I was among some of the best songwriter’s in the area. KCSA dissolved and Nashville Songwriter’s Association went further west. So that chapter closed.
Life is so unpredictable. In 1999, horses became part of my life again, and started a new chapter in my horsemanship journey. But my love for music has always remained, and I am now writing more songs and getting them recorded.
For more details about my musical journey visit me at: BarbaraK.me.
Two songs that passed the KCSA showcase are included below:
“Don’t Ask Me to Dance”