Kaki King

Interview: Kaki King’s virtuosic return

Kaki King: GlowKaki King: Glow (Velour, 10/9/12)

“Great Round Burn”

Kaki King: “Great Round Burn”

After an auspicious start as a finger-tapping virtuoso and a transformation to singer-songwriter, guitarist Kaki King has returned to her instrumental roots with Glow, her first vocal-free LP since 2004. It’s much more than a rehash or a collection of melodies; Glow marries the best of her developed songcraft with melodic beauty and multi-layered accents.

The direction may surprise some, seeing as when King last left us, she was lathering her songs in vocal harmonies, catchy choruses, and quirky lyrics. But Glow brings King full circle, back to a method of telling stories with quickly picked melodies, percussive tapping, and calmly strummed chord progressions. What caused this shift? A simple fork in the road.

“I think what helped shape Glow,” King says, “was the sort of ambivalence I was beginning to feel at that time, about if I was going to continue to play guitar for a living.”