Malakai's Rainbow - Kenn Fox

Kenn Fox - Malakai's RainbowKenn Fox
Malakai's Rainbow
November 2010
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# TRACK Sample


Malakai's Rainbow



The Return



Voice of the Island



The Many Lives of Fiona McLeod



Wit's End



Every Grain of Sand-[Featuring The Midwest Guitar Trio]



The Old Wooden Bridge






Dancing In The Rain



Across The Sea



Another Side of Sunday



The Wisdom of Trees



Eyes of a Child


About the CD

13 new Fingerstyle Guitar compositions composed and performed by Kenn Fox

Malakai’s Rainbow is Kenn’s 11th solo album and a return to the solo Fingerstyle setting of his acclaimed 2008 release Sacred Wood. All but one of these thirteen new original compositions were recorded live in 2010. The exception, “Every Grain of Sand,” marks the first recording of Kenn’s latest side project, The Midwest Guitar Trio. The Trio’s first album is slated for release in Spring 2011.

Malakai’s Rainbow was inspired by and dedicated to the birth of Kenn’s first grandchild, Malakai. Born in June 2010 with complex congenital heart disease, he has endured several surgeries and extended hospitalizations. These songs are a collection of ballads created as both a reaction to his struggle and an offering of compassion and peace.

Kenn’s songs have been called enchanting, calming, understated and introspective. Each song is executed with the technical precision that displays Kenn’s 30+ years of dedication to his instrument. If you enjoy solo guitar music, this collection of songs truly takes the instrument to interesting, exciting and new places.

Recorded at Randy's Recording, Cottage Grove WI and Guitar Lab,Watertown WI
Engineered by Randy Green and Richard McKay
Mixed by Vinny Millivolte and Kenn Fox
Mastered by Randy Green
All Tracks Performed Live Except #6
All compositions Written By Kenn Fox, Braveface Publishing ASCAP
Guitars: Sobell New World, Matsuda M-1, Northwood 00, House OM
Cover Design: Alison
Guest Appearance by The Midwest Guitar Trio on Every Grain of Sand
The Midwest Guitar Trio is Dave Karnes, Richard McKay, and Kenn Fox
For: Malakai


Work & Worry: Acoustic Guitar, Fingerstyle, Folk, Blues & Beyond - January 2011

Kenn Fox is a fingerstyle guitar veteran from Wisconsin, and his new CD Malakai’s Rainbow finds him working in an easy going, contemporary style.  The tracks are all original instrumentals, alternately melancholy and breezy, and the sound of the disc has a modern acoustic sheen, with occasional reverbs and delays, and blended acoustic and pickup signals throughout.

This record is named for Fox’s grandson, who was born last June with a congenital heart condition. The opening title track is Fox’s tribute to the boy, who has already fought his way through multiple open heart surgeries. The song is bittersweet, mostly loping arpeggios with a few nice melodic turns.  Second track, “The Return,” begins like an inverted “Layla”, and I mean that in a good way...Fox patiently lays down a sparse melody over a mix of picked and strummed chords, with a memorable melodic transition to the “B” section, and some nice descending notes in the bass. The middle of the song finds the guitarist digging into some down-tuned strumming, resulting in a less interesting, sort of Alice In Chains vibe, before returning to the initial themes.

As the album goes on, Fox mostly repeats the approach of the first two tracks, with only a little variation in tempo and feel. Songs like “Marion,” “Across The Sea,” “The Wisdom of Trees” and closer “Eyes of a Child” all mine the same emotional terrain, with slow, clean picking, and some skeletal melodies buried in the pretty arpeggios. These compositions are all executed perfectly, and their serene nature certainly has a calming effect, but they can begin to sound repetitive if you’re not in a reflective mood.

As is the case with many instrumental guitar albums, when a few standout tracks take a different approach from the established mood, those tunes can become the most memorable.  “The Many Lives of Fiona McLeod” takes the form of a jig, and the upbeat feel is a welcome change from the more solemn, contemplative material.  ”Every Grain of Sand” (not to be confused with the Dylan song of the same name) isn’t a solo, but is credited to The Midwest Guitar Trio, and the additional players bring a rich harmonic element to Fox’s somber composition.  A lot of “Another Side of Sunday” is similar in feel to the rest of the record, but it also sports some compelling themes, rife with dissonant intervals.

Malakai’s Rainbow is a mellow, enjoyable modern fingerstyle record, but one that might have benefited from a little more variation in the tempos and dynamics of the songs. I’m looking forward to digging into Fox’s lengthy back catalog, as well as the upcoming full length by The Midwest Guitar Trio. If you would like to contribute to the Malakai Kaesermann fund, please contact Kenn via Spiritone Records.

- By Raymond Morin January 4, 2011



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