Growing up in southern Ohio, Kerry Kean was influenced by the music of the day, from Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan to the Beatles, the Stones, and Led Zeppelin. The guitar was the sound, and from the moment his dad brought home an old Harmony arch-top, he was hooked, spending endless hours and wearing out countless records learning songs and riffs. This fascination with music also led Kerry to study piano technology, open a piano service and rebuilding business and eventually come to Kent Ohio where he served as Kent State University’s resident piano technician for 16 years.
Starting out with rock and roll, Kerry soon taught himself to play many other styles as well. Over the years, he has performed in various groups including folk trios, dance and show-bands, and jazz ensembles. For most of a year, he toured the country with the Parker Brothers, a national show group. At the same time, he has maintained a strong interest in acoustic finger-style and flatpicked guitar. Kerry gradually gathered a repertoire of blues, ragtime, and folk tunes, as well as writing his own songs, and in recent years this music has become a primary focus. While living in southern Ohio, He began performing as a solo act and has shared a stage with artists like John Fahey, John Hartford, Nanci Griffith and others. In 1995 Kerry released “Guitarism”, a solo fingerstyle album which contains eight originals and two cover tunes and covers a wide range of musical territory. “Deer Tracks” from this album was selected for a Folknet compilation CD and is still in rotation on area radio stations.
After playing for several years in support of this album, Kerry took a break to finish a business degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2000 from Kent State as class Valedictorian. While at Kent, he also studied jazz and played in the school’s big band and several small combos. After graduation, he launched an exciting new career in as a software engineer shortly before “off-shoring” became a household word. Disillusioned with corporate America, Kerry decided to take advantage of his company’s downsizing (best viewed as another life experience from which to mine songs, he says), to launch a “portfolio” career. Also described as being “multiply self-employed”, this includes computer consulting, web design, piano tuning and repair, guitar teaching, and, of course, performing. Kerry is also the coordinator for the workshops at the annual Kent State Folk Festival.
Kerry is gigging regularly again and currently performs both as a solo and with small swing and bluegrass groups. He sings as well, and his shows are a blend of instrumental and vocal numbers. In 2010 he released his third album consisting of both instrumental and vocal songs and is working on another which is planned for release in late 2011.