Veteran of Centre County music scene looks ‘onward and upward’ with new band, album

Kris Kehr, a veteran of the Centre County music scene, has a new album, new band and an upcoming concert at Zeno’s Pub.
Kris Kehr, a veteran of the Centre County music scene, has a new album, new band and an upcoming concert at Zeno’s Pub. Photo provided

Centre County is a hotbed for local music, and it’s a place that is undeniably home for those who live or have been blessed to live here.

Kris Kehr, a famed State College musician and veteran of a slew of successful local and regional bands (I used to catch — and love — The Recipe back in my college days), is back on the scene after an unfortunate bout of poor health. He has a new album, a new band and a highly anticipated show coming up at Zeno’s on Aug. 3.

“I’ve been working on this collection of 10 new songs,” Kehr wrote in an email, “first playing them out solo for a while and getting them right, then recording them with Matt Cullen, a local drummer I’ve been working with since the Stone Poets days.”

Kehr’s revamped new band is called Traveling Seeds and the new album goes by the same name. The music is awesome, but more specifically is an acoustic montage of sophisticated guitar playing and multiple layers of sound, and Kehr’s singing is infused with wisdom. I don’t know what it is or where it comes from, but the sound of it is crystal clear. Kehr is back, and his music is telling us something.

“The collection is now released online,” Kehr wrote. “(We) will be in town for the first time, playing the album and more with our special guest fiddler Jeff Wisor, who is retired from David Bromberg’s touring band. (He also) plays on our album.”

Additionally, the Zeno’s show will also feature former Stone Poets member Dave Mudgett. His band, The Delveratos, will play a set after Traveling Seeds, according to Kehr.

“I guess it’s somewhere between folk-rock and Americana,” Kehr wrote. “We like to stretch some sections out a la the Grateful Dead. There’s a bluegrass thread running through much of it, as well as country-blues with influences from songsters like JJ Cale, Mark Knopfler, Neil (Young) and Bob (Dylan).”

The feel of it all is bright, and all of it’s coming right on time.

“I’ve been wanting to get back to State College for a while now,” Kehr wrote. “Life’s too short.”

Kehr couples this perspective with a collection of new songs that do what the Roman poet Horace advises all art should do: delight.

“I believe the songs are strong,” Kehr wrote, “and the band has something unique to offer in its delivery ... and having Jeff sit in is always special.”

Thankfully, this only appears to be the beginning of Kehr’s renaissance with Traveling Seeds.

“I’m already working on the next batch of songs,” Kerr wrote. “Onward and upward.”

Kevin Briggs is a writer and musician who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.