Music » Livewire

Kaki King

Friday, February 25, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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Most young'uns are content to bang on pots and pans in the kitchen in between Sesame Street episodes as a musical pastime. Not so for acoustic instrumentalist Kaki King, who took up guitar at age 5 and picked up drumming for good measure at around 10.

The precocious Atlanta native honed her skills on both instruments on her way to college at NYU -- thanks to a fascination with professionals like Johnny Marr, Nick Drake, and Elliott Smith -- where she began to play with bands in the Village and haunt the subway lines with her guitar.

The difference between King and other aspiring troubadours, however, is that her self-released subway CD landed in the right hands -- namely, someone at N.Y.C.'s Knitting Factory, who subsequently booked her for a weekly gig. That exposure helped land King a record deal for the release of 2003's Everybody Loves You. Part rough-hewn Ani DiFranco thrumming and part classically trained virtuoso, You's instrumentals were simplistic yet evocative -- a style King expands upon with her recently released major-label debut, Legs to Make Us Longer. The album displays a broader palette of emotional depth, thanks to explosive fretwork, complicated arrangements, and string-and-bass flourishes.

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