High schoolers who conjure up dreams of musical stardom are hardly a unique occurrence, nor has it been for years. Whether it be aspirations of the being the next boy band overnight craze with thousands of pre-pubescent girls shrieking their hearts out at you, or being the lead guitarist for the next Pearl Jam and enjoying critical and commercial success, millions of teenagers in this world every day are captivated by the dream of becoming a musician to an almost extreme extent.
In some regards, Kevin Hiatt was no different during his formative teen years. Hiatt, an accomplished and learned musician whose mastery of just about everything guitar has earned him a reputation as one of the whatzup area's most intelligent, talented and versatile musicians, was similarly drawn to a dream of becoming a musician at a fairly early age.
That's about where the similarities stop, however. Instead of being consumed with visions of busting out choreographed dance routines in front of swooning teens or noodling out guitar solos in plaid shirts in front of throngs of headbangers, Hiatt's earliest musical inspirations were drawn from an entirely different and unique source.
"I was bitten by the classical guitar bug early in high school", Hiatt explains. "I really didn't have success in finding a strong teacher for something like that, so I taught myself to play. That opened a lot of things up for me. I realized I wanted to write music pretty early on, too."
From that early yearning to learn classical guitar, coupled with the desire to learn the craft of writing and composing his own music, Hiatt has continuously expanded as a musician. Hiatt is one of the musicians who is always pushing themselves, trying new things out and looking at music as a constant state of learning and educating.
"I try and be careful to not do things I can't do as a musician, whether it's in terms of songwriting or performing," Hiatt says. "But I always seem to be trying new things out and pushing myself in different directions as well."
For someone who got his start as a musician by teaching himself to play the classical guitar, Hiatt is one of the most formally trained mainstream musicians you'll come across in the area. He has earned three degrees in music composition, including a doctorate from Miami (Ohio) University he earned in the late 80s.
During and immediately after his formal musical education, Hiatt worked extensively in classical music as a performer and composer. He has written over 90 separate pieces of chamber music and performed extensively in classical settings.
He soon felt limited, however, and the other musical side of him that had found influences in artists like Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges and Preston Reed began to weigh more heavily on his vision of the future. He soon found himself writing more pop/folk style music for six-, seven- and 12-string guitars (all three of which he is proficient at playing) and pretty much inventing an entirely new musical persona and audience for himself.
Since that time, Hiatts stylings, coupled with his classical training and extensive experience in composition, have matured to the point that actually trying to categorize his unique sound becomes a tad difficult to do.
"My stuff tends to be a little more different than straight-forward folk music," he explains. "But I'm not alone; there's a whole subculture of people who do what I do musically speaking and people who seek it out as an audience."
The whatzup-area musical website fortwaynemusic.com describes Hiatt's musical stylings as American fingerstyle guitar somewhere between Fahey/Kottke and Hedges/Preston Reed guitar stylings.
Extended instrumentals, two-hand tapping, percussive attacks, wall-of-sound approach to acoustic guitar, it continues. Lyrics on vocal tunes range from neurotic confessional themes to satirically humorous. Tasty covers for bar gigs.
"What I go for in my music is something, some sort of experience that will really draw the listener in," Hiatt says. "I am in a constant state of refining the artistic product I put out there for the audience."
After bouncing around large portions of the continental U.S., working as a performer and a teacher in places like Baltimore, Hiatt returned to Fort Wayne a few years back and got right down to business. His debut album, Another Look at the Sunrise, recorded at Ozone Studios in Fort Wayne, was released about a year ago. The album of all original material from Hiatt featured a healthy balance of both vocal and instrumental pieces, and use of six-, seven- and 12-string guitars.
He is also consistently trying to make himself more of a, as he puts it, regional act, taking his act farther out to environs outside northeast Indiana. Gigs in places like Indianapolis and Muncie are increasing in frequency on his schedule, and a recent show he did in Columbus, Ohio was particularly encouraging for him.
"People sat down, were very civil, they listened intensively and clapped," he says. "And most importantly, I didn't have any request for Jimmy Buffett tunes the entire time."
"A second album is already under way as well," Hiatt says, with a projected completion date sometime in late summer. He says he has a projected total length for the album of about 50 to 60 minutes of more original material, with about 25 minutes of stuff already completed. Tentatively titled Chasing Horses, Hiatt says the album will hopefully convey an even stronger range of instrumentation than Another Look at the Sunrise did. When you counter one song he performed for the album with Joe Kalisman, a Fort Wayne Philharmonic cello player, with "Goodbye to Ranger Doug," a song he says is dedicated to Pee Wee Herman, a range of instrumentation may be a bit of an understatement.
"I am going for more variety with this album; its that simple," he says.
But even as he works to expand his presence in areas outside of northeast Indiana, Hiatt is still working to expand his presence locally as well.
"There's some talented musicians here, and I think Fort Wayne can be fertile ground for a strong musical scene," he contends. From my experiences alone, I have seen a growing, certain intelligentsia-type audience looking for this type of music, for these types of performers."
by Kevin Erb
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Click on the headings below for full calendars
Columbia City Haunted Jail — Haunted tours of the jail where Charles Butler was hung, 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27; 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 28-29; 7-9 p.m. Sunday-Monday, Oct. 30-31; 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5 and 7-9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, Columbia City Haunted Jail, Columbia City, $13-$20, www.columbiacityhauntedjail.com
Hysterium — Haunted asylum; formerly the Haunted Cave, 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27; 7 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, Oct. 28-29; 7-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Monday, Oct. 30-31, 4410 Arden Dr., Fort Wayne, $13, $5 tool shed escape, www.facebook.com/hysteriumftwayne
Pamela C. Newell Artist Demonstration — Conducted in conjunction with the Oil Painters of America 2016 Salon Show, 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
Trunk or Treat — Car to car trick-or-treating and more w/the Fort Wayne Corvette Club and Eel River Elementary School PTA, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Byron Health Center courtyard and parking lot, Fort Wayne, free, 637-3166
Steve Vai — Rock at Honeywell Center, Wabash, 7:30 p.m., $29-$100, 563-1102
Ben Wineland — Variety at LaOtto Brewing Company, LaOtto, 6-8 p.m., no cover, 897-3360
Columbia Street Unplugged w/Shelly Dixon & Jeff McRae — Acoustic at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 422-5055
Comedy, Comedy, Comedy! — Comedy at Neat Neat Neat Records, Fort Wayne, 8-9:30 p.m., no cover, 241-3956
Hubie Ashcraft — Acoustic at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 8-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Jazz Jam — Open jam at Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, 7-8:30 p.m., no cover, 432-8176
Jeff McDonald — Folk at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-2524
Morgan Showman — Rock/variety at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 625-1002
Motor Folkers — Acoustic rock at Adams Lake Pub, Wolcottville, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 854-3463
My Apollo w/Heaven's Gateway Drugs, The Harlequins — Rock at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., $5, (260) 456-7005
Open Mic — Hosted by Mike Conley at Mad Anthony Brewing Co., Fort Wayne, 8:30-11 p.m., no cover, 426-2537
Open Stage Jam — Hosted by Pop 'n' Fresh at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., no cover, 478-5827
TK's Bar & Grill — Karaoke w/Ambient Noise Ent., 8 p.m.
Club Paradise — The Voice Karaoke w/DJ Rob & DJ B, 8:30 p.m.
Piggy's — Karaoke w/DJ Shaun Marcus, 10 p.m.
Mimi's Retreat — Karaoke, 8 p.m.
Taps Pub — Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ, 8-11 p.m. , no cover
Arena — American Idol Karaoke w/Jay, 8 p.m.
Deer Park Irish Pub — Bucca Karaoke w/Bucca, 10 p.m. , no cover
Double Down — Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu, 9 p.m.
Latch String Bar & Grill — American Idol Karaoke, 8 p.m. , no cover
Nick's Martini & Wine Bar — American Idol Karaoke, 8-11 p.m. , no cover
North Star — Shut Up & Sing w/Michael Campbell, 8 p.m. , no cover
O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub — Tronic, 10 p.m. , no cover
Piere's — House DJ, 9 p.m.
Wrigley Field Bar & Grill — Live DJ, 10 p.m. , no cover
Paul's Pub — Shotgun Prod. Karaoke, 10 p.m.
Rack and Helen's — American Idol Karaoke w/TJ, 10 p.m. , no cover
Ain’t Misbehavin’ — Musical comprised on Fats Waller classics, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Oct. 27-28 and Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, First Presbyterian Theater, Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 426-7421 ext. 121
Click header for complete Movie times
Art of Healing — Works created to inspire healing and overcoming personal obstacles, Friday-Sunday thru Nov. 13, Garrett Museum of Art, Garrett, 704-5400
Austin Cartwright and Eric Carlson — Drawings and clay sculptures, Tuesday-Saturday thru Nov. 5, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, 2017, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Fall Colors and Themes — Paintings and photos depicting the rich changing colors of the season along with raku fired skulls, fiber monsters, harvest moon paintings, clay figures and more, Monday-Saturday thru Oct. 31, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Halloween & Autumn Inspired Art — Seasonal art from member artists, Monday-Saturday thru Nov. 5, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
A Legacy of Art: A Collection by William and Mary Ann Roebel — Collection includes works by Renoir, Toulouse-Latrec, Matisse, Rembrandt, Dali, Whistler and many other masters, daily thru Nov. 6, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6977
Marks of Intention — Abstract works by Nazar Harran, Monday-Saturday thru Nov. 15, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Master Prints — Diverse collection of prints acquired by the university over the past 15 years, Monday-Friday thru Dec. 22, Lupke Gallery, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Midwest Ceramics Invitational — Works from nine professional Midwest ceramic artists, Monday-Friday thru Nov. 20, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Oil Painters of America Salon Show — Juried show featuring 300 paintings by Oil Painters of America members, Tuesday-Saturday thru Oct. 29, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Paroxysm: A New Body of Work by Crystal Wagner — Large scale multi-textured sculptures, Tuesday-Sunday thru Oct. 23, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Photography Show — Exhibition of photographs in three categories (black and white, color and altered images), daily thru Nov. 9 (reception 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9), Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Picasso, Braque and Leger: 20th Century Modern Masters — Paintings and Museum of Art, Tuesday-Sunday thru Oct. 27, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Selections from the Haan Collection of Indiana Art — Works on loan from the Haan Mansion Museum in Lafayette, Indiana, Tuesday-Sunday thru Oct. 23, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
SOCA Student Highlights Exhibition: Photo — Works by students enrolled in USF’s School of Creative Arts photography program, Monday-Friday thru Nov. 20, Spotlight Gallery, Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Theoplis Smith III — Works on display, daily thru Oct. 21, The Gallery at PranaYoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
William and Peggy Dotterweich Game Fish Figurine Collection — A selection of hand-painted porcelain game fish figurines, Monday-Friday thru Nov. 20, Goldfish Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Young Artists and Authors Showcase — Art, poetry and essays based on the theme “Peace through People” from international students, Monday-Friday thru Oct. 27, Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Artlink Educational Programs — Art classes offered by Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, dates and times vary, Artlink, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-7195
Fort Wayne Dance Collective Workshops — Workshops and classes for movement, dance, yoga and more offered by Fort Wayne Dance Collective, dates and times vary, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-6574
IPFW Community Arts Academy— Art, dance, music and theater classes for grades pre-K through 12 offered by IPFW College of Visual and Performing Arts, fees vary, 481-6977, www.ipfw.edu/caa
Sweetwater Academy of Music — Private lessons for a variety of instruments available from professional instructors, ongoing weekly lessons, Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, call for pricing, 432-8176, academy.sweetwater.com
Team Trivia — Trivia for teams of up to 6 players, 7 p.m. Thursdays, Crazy Pinz/Coconutz, Fort Wayne, free, 969-9336