Kray Van Kirk – A Live Album Recording Concert

Saturday, May. 20 | 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)


The Winner of our 2022 Singer-Songwriter Competition returns to The Acorn for a unique concert experience – a live album recording show!

An evening of folk Americana on 6 & 12-string guitar concerning heroes and hope, so that everyone, absolutely everyone, of any gender, identity, orientation, ethnicity or anything else, can know that they are not alone but are on the Hero's Quest.

About the Artist:

Folk singers often try to one-up each other with obscure details and pastimes. No slouch in that regard, Kray Van Kirk has not one but two obscure distinctions. First, he holds a Ph.D. in fisheries population dynamics modeling. If that’s not obscure enough, he does a spot-on impression of Japan's nineteenth century blind swordsman, Zatoichi.

A fine finger-style guitarist with a precise baritone, Van Kirk obtained his doctorate from the University of Alaska. Coming off five years of living in his van and playing music across the US and Canada, he thought that a career in the sciences might be a bit more secure than playing music for a living, especially as a single parent. Eventually, however, he realized that healing the world was primarily a matter of the heart, not the head, and he put aside his computer, picked up his guitar, and set out again.

When Van Kirk reached Scotland and the prestigious Fringe Festival, the Daily Fringe Review wrote “The evening's act was Kray Van Kirk, whose 12-string guitar and soaring vocals were spellbinding; the Alaskan singer-songwriter, in his Edinburgh debut, was not the reason I arrived early, but was certainly why I stayed late."

Van Kirk, however, is not your average crying-in-your-coffee singer songwriter. "We need a renewal of myth and wonder and hope," he says.

This is where the Zatoichi impression comes in handy. Shintaro Katsu played the blind but fictional wandering masseuse as a bumbling nobody in movies from 1962 to 1989. Prior to unleashing his unrivaled swordsmanship, he closes his eyes, cocks his head to one side and listens intently, as does Van Kirk. “We are driven by myth and the seasons of the heart. We need new stories and new myths so that everyone, absolutely everyone, regardless of creed, color, gender, sexuality or anything else, can listen and look and see themselves on the Hero's Quest.”

Thus his songs: 'Thunderbird' resurrects the Phoenix in an empty desert diner in the American Southwest (yes, the Phoenix drives a Thunderbird), 'The Queen of Elfland' plucks Thomas the Rhymer from the English-Scottish border in 1250 and drops him and the Queen into a subway car, 'The Library Song' has Superman moonlighting as a librarian, and 'The Midnight Commander' celebrates an insane old man leading the city of New York to take up arms (and underwear) against hatred.

Of this charming, Quixotic, and decidedly eclectic performer, the Borderline Folk Club in New York wrote “it is what every singer-songwriter should aspire to.”


RESERVED SEATING DONATION option includes a $25 tax-deductible donation to The Acorn and guarantees you a seat with optimal sightlines. $25 Donation per ticket holder in your group.

Turn your show experience into a memorable stay! The Loft at The Acorn offers a spacious, industrial-chic apartment above The Acorn theater. Click here for photos and rental information.


Box Office opens at 4pm ET
Starts 8:00pm, doors open 7:00pm

Artistry, Up Close

The intimate, acoustically-rich Acorn environment encourages interaction between the artists and audience.

About The Acorn Center for the Performing Arts

The Acorn brings great known performers and amazing new ones to southwest Michigan.  Located in the historic featherbone factory, The Acorn’s friendly staff and volunteers, and an acoustically rich sound system combine for memorable experiences. We’re located in Three Oaks, Michigan …  just over an hour from downtown Chicago and 30 minutes from South Bend, IN.

The Acorn, a nonprofit organization, annually hosts a singer songwriter competition and a Spectacular Tournament of Playwrights. Our Open Mic nights showcase a variety of strong talent and our educational workshops include songwriting and master classes in performance.

The Acorn’s Mission

To offer a broad range of high-quality arts and education programming that nurtures cultural experience, participation and community engagement among residents and visitors of all ages and enhances the economic vitality of the region.

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