Kevin Kinsella fell in love with music at the tender age of 12, when his Irish immigrant father took him to visit his homeland and Bob Marley's "One Love/People Get Ready" came on the radio. Kevin was immediately struck by the spiritual and truthful aspects of what he thought at the time was "Christian funk music", recognizing lyrics from church.
This moment inspired Kevin to start his first band, The Tribulations. Over the next few years, the Tribulations played numerous local shows, honing their craft and gaining a reputation for outstanding live shows, even opening for the legendary Toots and the Maytals. The band released two albums and toured full-time for several years, eventually being endorsed by Adidas and beating 4,000 bands to win Yamaha's Soundcheck Competition.
Soon after the competition, Kevin chose to leave The Tribulations, seeking a deeper, more spiritual experience creating music. In 1995, he formed John Brown's Body, and served as the band's frontman and primary songwriter for the next 10 years. During Kevin's tenure, John Brown's Body released five albums (on Shanachie, Easy Star and I-Town Records), toured relentlessly and grew to international acclaim. The Village Voice declared John Brown's Body "a rare and beautiful example of roots-rock reggae at its finest," while Relix described their music as "authentic soulful roots-reggae that has an addictive rhythm and fabulous musicianship."
In 1996, Kevin founded his own label, I-Town Records to release John Brown's Body's debut album, All Time. I-Town has gone on to release over 60 albums, helping to bring national acclaim to Ithaca's vibrant music community. Artists such as Sim Redmond, David Gould and John Brown's Body have built significant international careers after I-Town released their debut records. Around this time, Kevin also started working with mysterious roots masters 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, releasing six full length albums with the band and generating much frustration amongst fans for playing less than a handful of live shows.
In addition to starting and running an independent label, touring and recording incessantly with John Brown's Body, Kevin also found the time to focus his attention on his solo career, honing his songwriting skills. Both of Kevin's solo albums I-Town Revival and Firestick feature his prolific songwriting talent and skill with the acoustic guitar. Firestick is a full-length collaboration with renown cellist Hank Roberts, Richie Sterns of the Horseflies and Eric Aceto of TI TI Chickapea.
2011 sees Kevin expanding his sonic palette with his latest solo effort, Great Design. His third full-length showcases his agility as a songwriter, mixing elements of folk, rock and soul with his already well-crafted reggae and World vibe. The result is a warm and inviting album filled with spiritual funk grooves and laidback summer jams that summons the likes of Jack Johnson or Michael Franti. Whilst being accessibly upbeat, Great Design is also deeply emotionally evocative; it's simple and beautiful melodies and emotional clarity reveal Kevin as a magical lyricist and stunningly emotive songwriter. After all these years, Kevin has remained true to the spiritual music he was so moved by as a 12 year old boy.