Singer-songwriter Kyle Park calls himself a “lifer” in the music industry and it’s not hard to see why. On a typical year (i.e. not 2020), he performs roughly 175 times. Seven of his singles have reached No. 1 on the Texas Regional Radio Report (TRRR). He’s opened for legendary country heroes, like George Strait and Clint Black. And now, on April 1 at 7 p.m., he’ll be performing for our upcoming Front Porch Sessions presented by Meyer Ranch. Before the live-streamed event, we caught up with the musician to discuss everything from his favorite guitars to how he spends his time while on tour.
How did you get started playing music? Who were some of your early influences?
I had a guitar by like, 10 years old, but it didn’t take. I had a guitar lesson too. It was like, alright, put your finger here and go bom bom bom bom bom bom—a chromatic scale. I didn’t like it. I wanted to play a song immediately. I didn’t want to learn how to play guitar. So years down the road, after my dad passed away, I was 14 years old and my cousin said, “Man, you ought to learn that Chris LeDoux song called Seventeen.” It’s very prominent acoustic guitar picking. And so I just sat down and learned it by ear. He said, “Man, that’s pretty good. You ought to learn the rest of it.” And kind of as a dare, I did it. After that he said, “Man that’s pretty good. You oughta learn how to play guitar. Learn some more songs.” Then I did just that—out of boredom, out of a dare, or a challenge. When I was 15 years old, I lived out in the country. I didn’t have a license or a car and most of my friends were miles away. So I just locked myself in my room for six or eight months. And I remember playing guitar for more than 45 minutes of every hour for six months. That was it, man. I kept at it for a long time.
Chris Ledoux is a big influence. George Strait, of course. Clint Black is a big influence on me. A lot of my music is influenced by those kind of guys. I love the clever songwriting. I love the ballads. I love fiddle and steel and all those things. I like today’s country music just fine. But my passion is definitely in larger bands with unique stories. The ’90s was a time when all the songs were very unique in their own way. And artists were as well. Maybe that’s just me speaking as a 15-year-old kid. That might be a big part of it.
In almost every picture of you, you’re seen playing a different guitar. Are there any in your collection that stand out as favorites?
I can tell you there are several that haven’t made the photoshoot yet. There’s more! I have a couple of favorites. One of my first guitars that I don’t really play on stage anymore—I played it for seven or eight years on stage and I retired it at the house because I thought if this guitar gets broken or stolen, it’ll break my heart. It’s not what it’s worth financially, it’s what it means to me. It’s kind of a cheap old guitar but I love it. And then I’ve got a couple of expensive guitars that are very fine and I like a lot. I have a nice Collings with koa front, back, and sides. It’s just beautiful. But I also have a ‘58 Gibson with a Bigsby on it and a beautiful J45. I’ve got this Bourgeois guitar. That’s probably my favorite. I use that the most in the studio. It’s like magic. I play the G&L on stage. I love that tone. It feels fat. I love it for country music. I love the humbucker. It just feels good. And I’ve been playing those like 10 years now.
You recently became a dad—how’s that going?
Oh, thanks, man. It’s crazy. It’s awesome. For me, it’s been easy because I have a superwoman of a wife. Things have changed for me, no doubt about it, like, responsibilities and the way I feel about life in general (and marriage, too). But life is business as usual. I’m still taking care of the house. I’m still trying to write songs and record music and put new stuff out there and tour. COVID had more of a damper on my career than the baby ever will. COVID was tough, you know, being told you’re not able to play. My wife and I are both ready for me to get back out there and start playing and just do what I do—what I’ve done for so long.
Are you working on new material now? What’s inspiring your songwriting these days?
We’re working on a couple of different projects. I hope to have a new album out this year. I have a new single coming soon that I’ll definitely play on the Front Porch Session. But I have an acoustic record in the mix and that might come out this year or next year. And then also the full band record with new songs. The acoustic record would be like a couple of songs off every record. I don’t love the term “greatest hits,” so just like, a medley of songs from every album. And then the new full band album would be all brand new songs and I’ve got like eight cut already.
I’ve recently written a couple of songs about being from the Hill Country, some beer-drinking songs, a rodeo song. No baby songs yet—but they’re coming.
I’ve been told that you’re an avid golfer.
I sure love to play golf. I’ve been playing more golf these last 12 months than the previous just because of COVID and not having as much work. Now that the baby’s here I’m not playing as much but I’m still playing more than the average bear. I’m still trying to play as much as I can and I’m like, a five or six handicap.
That’s a good way to kill time on the road and I’ve been doing that for quite some time now. I’ve played some pretty cool courses in a lot of different places, fortunately. Some guys on the road like going to the bar and drinking or some guys like seeing a movie. I go play golf. My drummer years ago was an ex-college golfer so we’d play all the time. Now I’m the only golfer on the road so I’m all by myself. If I’m ever out on the road, shoot me a Tweet or an Instagram message and say hey Kyle, come on, come play golf here. I’ll come play golf with you.