If you think unicorns are rare, try finding an 18-year-old in a Colorado Springs rock band who credits Elton John as his primary musical influence. Meet Kevin Kelpin, the multitalented keyboard player, lead guitarist, songwriter and vocalist for the protean Woodland Park rock band Blue. With a set of tenor pipes that would make the most devout of choirboys blush, young Mr. Kelpin would appear to have a mighty bright future ahead of him.
"When he was 6, he would hear songs in his head and play them on the piano," said Kelpin's father, Tim, who also plays bass in the band. "He was melodic even then."
With the encouragement of his father, young Kelpin studied equal parts classical piano and classic rock before the queen mother of pop just got to him.
"I started playing Elton John songs and that really influenced me," he said.
After learning to play guitar with an uncanny ease, both Kelpin and his father knew he was destined to be a performer.
After years of playing in school bands, Kelpin hooked up with his friend, drummer Alex Moeller, and started to jam. Before long they'd hooked up with Jordan Smith, an enormously talented 16-year-old blues guitar player (who cites the unlikely combination of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Radiohead and Sigur Ros as his major influences) and the band Blue was on its way to assembling a repertoire of 20 original songs and twice as many covers.
While these young gents are still in the formative stages of defining their own sound, their potential is impossible to miss.
-- Noel Black
Tres Hombres, 116-1/2 Midland Ave., Woodland Park
Saturday, March 27 at 9 p.m.
$3, all ages