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Kurt Mahoney: History

Singer/Songwriter/Musician Kurt Mahoney was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1958. Soon after, the family moved to Wisconsin, but
“The family” was short lived. When he was two years old, his father disappeared, leaving the young mother to raise her only child alone.
Music played an important role in the young boy’s life, but with the appearance
of the Beatles his life changed - at the age of 8 the introverted lad had begun writing poetry and at age 10 Kurt began playing his first
instrument: the bass guitar. By age 12 he was putting together his first band!
In 1972, he moved to Oklahoma City, where throughout his high school years he continued to write songs and entertain fellow students and friends.
Following his graduation, Kurt continued
to pursue an active musical career, but
became frustrated with the lack of options in Oklahoma
City and relocated to Southern California in 1982. Between 1982 and 1987 he worked as a solo artist and in duos and lent his talents as bassist, guitarist
and steel-guitarist to various bands, including gigs and recording dates with famed reggae and African
stars such as Joe Higgs, Don Carlos (of Black Uhuru) and King Sunny Ade` of Nigeria.
Throughout this period he never stopped writing songs, and in 1987 began forming the vehicle for the “World Beat” side of his writing skills: Eyes of the World. EOTW enjoyed an active career as a money-making club band, simultaneously gaining a reputation as one of California’s premier showcase/support acts.
Playing a large repertoire of Mahoney-penned tunes EOTW appeared with major acts such as Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, and
Andrew Tosh, to name a few. Their recorded output consisted of the self-released Never Goin’ Back. From this album, the song Dinosaur was chosen as the opening track on a CD compilation titled Bay Rock Sampler # 3, released by Relix Records (based in New York).
Relix and other labels expressed interest in signing EOTW, but all wanted too much creative control over the music. Eventually as with untold others, the personalities began to drift , and EOTW was
put to rest.
Throughout 1991 Kurt got back to solo work, testing out new material in smaller, more intimate venues. During this
period he was recognized by the Billboard International Song
Writing Competition for his songs Dinosaur and Attitude in the pop
category, and Never Ending Highway in the country category.
From September 1991 through December 1993, Kurt was the lead and rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and booking agent for MO DN IRIE, a southern California-based Reggae/R&B/World Beat cover band. MDI performed close to 450 gigs during this period including clubs, colleges, concert halls and tours throughout California.Kurt left MDI in 1994 to form the funk/rock/reggae band
Cherokee Radio. Performing both new and vintage Mahoney classics such as Percy’s Lament, Don’t Ask Me Why, and Desperado Town, Cherokee Radio swiftly began gigging throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, including the famous Roxbury on the Sunset Strip. Cherokee Radio performances were distinguished by high energy and strong musicianship. Concurrently in 1994 Kurt kept active (and the bills paid!) by performing as a sideman with the
Ira Rabon Band (formally of Earth, Wind and Fire) completed by a regular schedule of solo performances. Unfortunately, the spirituality
and consciousness of the players didn’t match the level of musicianship, and once again Kurt moved on.
Throughout 1995 Kurt continued to perform, write new music, and lend his instrumental talents to various worthwhile projects, including pedal steel guitar with a touring Bob Dylan Tribute band called Spider Lee James. Also in 1995 Kurt went on a two month “soul food sojourn” across America’s 2-lane highways “to clear the cobwebs and get back in touch with rural life”.
In 1996, still reaching for the “higher heights,” Kurt formed Roots Foundation. With a repertoire consisting of vintage
reggae, creative reggae arrangements of American rock and soul, and many more new Mahoney tunes such as Sacred Ground and World Go ‘Round, Roots Foundation is enjoying their ninth year as a strong musical force. Roots Foundation has released
numerous live and studio compilations, have been chosen to be the exclusive support act for Bunny Wailer, The Neville
Brothers and more, and continue to stay busy and move forward
and upward. When Roots is “in the house” you don’t want to miss it!
Additionally in 1996 Kurt formed Blue Rose. Performing as an acoustic duo, trio, and full band, Blue Rose travels up and down the two-lane back roads of American music on the wheels of “Mahoney tunes”. Whether it’s the swamp-rock epic Phantom Train ( the title of their latest CD) the soul-bearing country of Don’t Let The Devil Take Me Now, the slightly-scarred-but-still-hopeful love expressed in Not Like The Last Time or the anthemic In This World, Blue Rose continues to lay it right on the line.
As if this isn’t enough to keep someone busy, Kurt found time in 1999 and 2000 to tour California and Europe with legendary reggae
artist/percussion master Ras Michael. Kurt was featured on Pow Wow Records “Fire On The Mountain: Reggae Celebrates
The Grateful Dead” (Volume ll) with Ras Michael,
co-arranging and playing lead guitar on the track If I Had The World To Give, which many feel is the stand-out track on the record.
Beginning in 2001 Kurt formed another TWO groups! The first,
Hippies On Jazz, is a vehicle to explore standard, contemporary and original jazz, as well as some sidetracks and surprises to keep everyone on their toes! As with many jazz groups they perform “whenever there’s a gig” and of course the musicianship excels!
The second band, Island Groovy, is a fascinating and unique amalgram of Afro/Cuban/Brazillian/Caribbean influences. The
instrumentation consists of upright bass, a very involved percussion setup (no trap drums) and Kurt on acoustic guitar and steel guitar.
Covering everything from Cole Porter and Santo and Johnny to Bob Marley and Santana (and of course Mahoney tunes!) Island Groovy will captivate you, soothe you, move you, and groove you!
In addition to his prodigious talent as a songwriter and musician
Kurt has spent every possible free moment since the late 70’s developing his art as a photographer. As to be expected, most of these efforts have “focused” on music! His work has
appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, bios, as well as books, lps, cds, and cd box sets. He makes his work available to the public on a limited basis, and his archives feature thousands of
images of artists and bands covering jazz, world, folk, rock, and blues.
As we witness the changes in ourselves and the world around us, Kurt Mahoney continues to absorb and reflect his surroundings, to inspire and provoke thought in those who come in contact with his music, and above all to BE
INSPIRED to continue to grow, and to create a hopeful,
positive future for the world through the boundless power of music.