Live Review: Korby Lenker at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, CA

Material: If you’re looking for heartache, sincerity, passion and intelligence all in one musician’s body of music, you will find that Korby Lenker is the guy for you. Through his singer-songwriter tales, Lenker’s words are not just lyrics that are sung. Performing a handful of songs, all with one commonality, Lenker truly tells a story within each track. With a country yet unique twang, he conveys vibrant imagery that overlaps distinct acoustic instrumentals; particularly in “Northern Lights,” he paints a scene of a “night sky [that] is a chandelier.”

Musicianship: Lenker is a technically skilled musician with a sense of fluidity in his playing. Performing as a one-man-show, he demonstrated versatility through his use of distortion and reverb. Specifically, his use of a pedal effect that takes his acoustic instrumentals, reverses them, and is played back depending on how hard he strums his guitar is an interesting yet subtle approach. Lenker also manages to match his firm vocals to his instrumentals, something that can be heard in the creakiness of his acoustic guitar that matches the vulnerability in his voice. To close out his set, he toned it down a bit by bringing out his ukulele to perform softly and sweetly his song “My Little Life.”

Performance: Lenker is charismatic and charming. With each song he is consistent and keeps a solid pace. No stranger to the audience, he is comfortable with engaging, and might even reveal too much sometimes by oversharing his personal life. But that’s not a bad thing, as it elevates the performance element, making for a more personal experience. His humor is sometimes self-deprecating, introducing song “Forbidden Fruit” as a track that has “no redeeming value whatsoever.” However, this song specifically was a little bit funky and showed Lenker’s dancing moves on the tiny stage. The artist brought out Maya Bloomfield for “Let’s Just Have Supper,” a song that was upbeat but full of social commentary; the jam session felt like something among a group of friends and truly showed a sense of camaraderie.

Summary: The level of sincerity in this performer’s voice, along with his eclectic lyricism, is refreshing and strong. For an artist who doesn’t take himself too seriously, Korby Lenker proved to the audience that he is a professionally skilled musician with a lot of talent, a lot of soul and plenty of potential to move forward in his career.

Photo by Carla Juarez

Venue: Hotel Café
Hollywood, CA
Contact: Cary Baker, [email protected]
Web: korbylenker.com