Bluegrass flatpicker and singer/songwriter, Ken Chapple, out of Portland, OR, has always challenged himself and stretched the boundaries of his field. Ken is in the midst of releasing his debut record of 100% original material. After two records, and countless shows with Wayward Vessel, and songwriting partner Julie Schmidt, Ken is branching out with his own record, and his own brand of acoustic music. Once again he is stretching the musical boundaries of his bluegrass genre, as well as the norms of music production and release.
Ken has studied guitar since he was 12 years old, strumming Grateful Dead, Neil Young and Bob Dylan songs with his older brother, Matt. Ken discovered bluegrass and flatpicking guitar while attending college at SUNY Fredonia in early the 2000s, where he studied classical guitar and computer science. At Fredonia, Ken stumbled upon a group of musicians who were picking fiddle tunes, and singing high lonesome songs. He followed that trail, which led to Tony Rice, David Grier and Clarence White who remain Ken’s biggest guitar influences.
It was Ken’s heavy interest in newgrass, especially Psychograss (Gavid Grier, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Tony Trischka and Todd Phillips,) that drew Ken out to Portland, Oregon in 2002 to visit west coast friends, and attend the Northwest String Summit, where David Grisman and Psychograss were participating in Yonder Mountain Stringband’s new festival.
After an exhilarating weekend at the String Summit, Ken decided to move to Portland. He relocated to Portland the following summer, where he attended graduate school at Portland State University for computer science, and later met his wife, and began a career track in music.
Ken formed Wayward Vessel in 2009 when he met fiddler Julie Schmidt at a Portland bluegrass jam. Wayward Vessel has enjoyed several years of success, releasing two records, and performing on stages all over the NW, including Wintergrass, Bluegrass From The Forest, Wheeler County, and 2nd place finish at the 2012 Telluride Bluegrass festival band competition.
Ken currently lives in Portland, OR with his wife Michelle, daughters Ruth (3) and Cora (3mo,) dog Sammy and cat Cleo. In addition to music, Ken also works on open source software development (OpenEMR) and also works with his wife on her blog and educational resource for textile designers.
In September 2105, Ken is looking forward to relocating to Asheville, North Carolina, to be closer to his family in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina. This record Crossing The Black will serve as an introduction to the musical community in Carolina, and a farewell to his friends in Portland.