Biting the bullet and following the dream

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyKenny Slevmo is heading to California to become a rock star.

Slevmo – known as Concrete Kenny locally – is itching to move to California. He and his family take off in two weeks, but first he’s hosting a CD release party for “Kenny Slevmo and the Originals.” The album has been in the works for years, and is hot off the press.

“Music is my passion,” said the singer-songwriter. “I feel like God has been telling me to do this for two years. I have an amazing wife and great kids, but I was still coming home from work angry because I wasn’t doing music. So here we go, we’ll just see what happens.”

Instead of sitting around getting bitter, he’s forging ahead into a new career and life. The owner of Slevin Concrete couldn’t get Golden State out of his head. His wife sent him to Carlsbad for a mini vacation. It was originally supposed to be a “writing trip,” but he convinced her to go with him. They fell in love with the place. As soon as they returned to the valley, their house – which had been on the market for 20 months – sold out of the blue. It seemed a good omen to the couple.

Slevmo’s songs come from his life experiences. One might focus on his oldest daughter, going off to college. In another, he recalls going to shows in Hartford, Conn., with his brother.

“I was 10 and he was 16,” said Slevmo. “We didn’t usually hang out, I don’t know why he took me. But that’s where I heard Percy Sledge sing “When a Man Loves a Woman’ and B.J. Thomas sing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.'”

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The two started building a record collection together. Four years ago, his brother divulged the fact that he sold the collection at a yard sale – all of those original singles by the Beatles, the Supremes, Elvis. To retaliate, in the song Slevmo wrote his brother, who is alive and well, as a dead man.

Slevmo began playing the guitar in the sixth grade.

“But I was terrible,” he said. “I never practiced, I just made up my own songs.”

He still makes up his own songs.

Kenny Slevmo and the Originals, including Bebo Bee (bass, vocals, horns), Jim Callery (guitars) and Patrick Kelly (drums, vocals), will be playing at the Half Moon Saloon. Part release party, part good-bye party, the event runs from 1-3 p.m.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.

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