Since emerging as co-founder of the SF Bay Area psychedelic band Zero in 1984, Steve Kimock has slowly but surely developed a reputation as one of the most distinctive and inspiring guitarists in the jam band world—a fantastic team player who has elevated every group he’s been in (and there have been a whole bunch of them). He is perhaps best known for playing in a slew of bands involving former Grateful Dead members in the post-Jerry Garcia era, including Missing Man Formation, the Other Ones, Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir’s RatDog, the Rhythm Devils, and the Mickey Hart Band. But more often he has led his own dynamic, heavily improvisational groups, playing his own (mostly) instrumental compositions, making magic in small clubs and theaters coast to coast for an ever-growing fan base.

When Kimock stopped by to lay down three songs for Acoustic Guitar Sessions, he brought his current band—known as KIMOCK—with him. Bassist Bobby Vega has been in many groups with the guitarist since the late ’80s; on percussion is Kimock’s son John; and singing is the talented New Yorker Leslie Mendolson. The three tunes are quite different from one another: “Careless Love,” co-written and sung by Mendelson, is a moody, vaguely country-flavored number that has Kimock playing resonator guitar; “Surely This Day” is a solo acoustic bottleneck number from Kimock’s excellent recent all-instrumental album, Last Danger of Frost; and “Orson” finds the group cruising in a hypnotic, occasionally African-sounding groove between taped bits of actor Orson Welles telling a story, Kimock on amplified acoustic 12-strng. Three sides of a very interesting band.

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