"This singer-songwriter expands his sound to stunning effect on his latest album. While his last record was a promising outing of acoustic country-folk, his new ones more rock-oriented. Some country gems can still be found, but alongside them he offers up some edgy roots-rock and rhythmic pop. His songs also continue to get sharper, and he puts them across with hushed, intimate vocals."
Korby was born to a mortician dad and a school mom in small-town southern Idaho. He grew up along the Snake River, in the shadow of the ramp where Evil Kneival jumped the canyon, almost.
Eight years ago, Korby went to college at Western Washington University, graduating in 2001. He studied music theory, transcribed Phish songs, found out he wasn't a jazz guitar player, rode his bike a lot and always went to class. Somewhere in there, he quit the city and spent a year or so in a little cabin thinking. It was then he first heard bluegrass. He unplugged and started flat-picking.
In '99 Korby got a Martin D-18 and headed out to West Virginia. For five months, he lived alone in a studio apartment on the Ohio River, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and going to bluegrass festivals. Korby snuck into a number of Appalachian mountain church services; one in particular--the snake-handling congregation of The Church of the Lord Jesus--videotaped their services on the off chance someone is bitten. Now, in someones video library, is Korby, shaking a tambourine and singing Nearer My God to Thee while old men passed around three-foot-long timber rattlesnakes.
In 2000, Korby returned to the West Coast and formed a bluegrass group, The Barbed Wire Cutters (called by SPIN "the young riders of the bluegrass revolt.").
2002 saw the recording of 'Bellingham', Korby's acoustic roots-oriented record tracked in San Francisco with dobro-player Mike Grigoni and bassist Andrew Simmons. The record received several strong reviews which led to a UK tour. The highlight was an interview with BBC Radio 2s Bob Harris. MOJO said "Lenker can write a polished gem of a song and sing it like someone whos been there. Whats more, he and his bandmates are A-List musicians. This is a tour-de-force of American Music."
Things didnt slow down. Upon his return from the UK, Korby was selected among of pool of 1200 applicants as a finalist for the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at MerleFest in North Carolina. He placed second, and upon returning from the southland, Seattle's KMTT 103.7, The Mountain, featured Korby, performing on the Mountains Music Lounge.
King of Hearts, Korby's latest release, represents his departure from his bluegrass roots; this rock-oriented effort is lived-to-tell-it songwriting, and features Korby wearing a few more hats. In addition to his roles as writer, guitarist, singer and programmer, he took a turn in the producer's chair.
Korbys has played support for such acts as Ray LaMontagne, Keith Urban, Tristan Prettyman and Kelly Joe Phelps.