Michael Kelsey Taps, De-Tunes, and Loops His Way to Broad Ripple Park

Michael Kelsey isn’t your typical singer songwriter. While most musicians in this genre are content to simply strum their guitars and warble along, Michael Kelsey uses his instrument more as an extension of himself than as an inanimate object. Kelsey uses almost every part of his guitar to make music, often pinging, tapping, beatboxing, and looping to create his masterful compositions. And his live performance is another animal entirely; Kelsey will use anything at his disposal to create the sound he’s looking for, be it nearby boxes or props thrown at him by his audience. One of guitar’s rising stars, Michael Kelsey will help redefine “singer songwriter” for a bevy of Indianapolis music fans when he performs at Broad Ripple Park on Friday, July 8, 2011 as part of the Summer Concerts in the Park original music series.

Video of Michael Kelsey performing “Midnight Voices” live; Michael Kelsey will be performing at Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis July 8, 2011

Michael Kelsey is a Hoosier, born and bred. The innovative guitar player was born in Lafayette, Indiana, the home of Purdue University and a burgeoning music scene of its own. Kelsey performed in a series of local bands (including one with Blind Melon front man Shannon Hoon) as a bassist and lead guitarist before turning to his love of audio engineering and opening up a recording studio in Lafayette. But writing and performing music never lost its appeal for Kelsey: after five years, he closed the recording studio in order to focus on his solo performances. After placing as a finalist in a national competition by Guitar Player magazine, Kelsey began experimenting with the acoustic guitar, an instrument he had largely ignored in favor of its louder, harsher electric cousin. In 2004, Michael Kelsey distinguished himself from a pack of 3,000 qualified guitar players to become the winner of Guitar Center’s Guitarmageddon competition, which netted him a performance with Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Steve Vai during Clapton’s 2004 Crossroads tour.

Video of Michael Kelsey doing his duties as ’04 Guitarmageddon champion at the Cotton Bowl for the Crossroads Guitar Festival; Michael Kelsey will be performing at Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis

Over the course of his long solo career, Michael Kelsey has released six studio albums and one live DVD, starting with 1996’s Gruvency. His most recent album, Submerged, was released during a party at Birdy’s Bar & Grill in January of 2011. Of his live performances, he said in a January interview with NUVO: “Expressing through sound is the one place where I felt at home. I like making musical discoveries in my alone time and then being able to go out and share them with an audience…There is that balance of opening yourself up to the moment, but also sharing something that you brought from home. I don’t have it perfected yet, but I am always trying.” Michael Kelsey’s live performances are certainly something to be experienced. Kelsey was opening for folk guitarist David Wilcox at one point; after his set, Wilcox remarked that watching Kelsey was like watching “Cirque du Soleil on acoustic guitar.”

Video of Michael Kelsey introducing his latest album, Submerged; Michael Kelsey will be performing at Broad Ripple Park on July 8, 2011

The performance by Michael Kelsey this Friday, July 8, 2011 is only one part of the comprehensive Summer Concerts in the Park put on by the Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department at Broad Ripple Park. The Indianapolis concert series has included shows with Irene & Reed, Slothpop, and Gary Walters and Friends; future shows at the Summer Concerts in the Park series include the Black Lillies, Folk Soul Revival, and Cara Jean Wahlers. Most of these artists are Indianapolis bands or groups from around the area, so get on out to Broad Ripple Park and support your local music scene!

Video of Michael Kelsey performing “Illusion of Fire” at Birdy’s Bar & Grill in Indianapolis

If you’re interested in witnessing the progressive instrumentation, dynamic showmanship, and virtuoso guitar skills of Michael Kelsey, head out to Broad Ripple Park near the Broad Ripple Village cultural district on Friday, July 8, 2011. Part of the Summer Concerts in the Park original music series sponsored by the Indy Parks and Recreation Department, Michael Kelsey is sure to redefine your notion of what it means to be a singer songwriter. This musically inclined Indianapolis event begins at 7:00 p.m. on July 8, 2011 and is absolutely free for all participants. This Friday is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the balmy July nights and enjoy some original Indiana tunes in the process.

Summer Concerts in the Park Presents Michael Kelsey
Friday, July 8, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: FREE
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Broad Ripple Park

1550 Broad Ripple Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46200

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