Idaho-born, longtime East Nashville resident Korby Lenker takes a lot of chances. He’s long been a heavy-touring, award-winning singer-songwriter; two years ago he added ‘published author’ to his resume, and now, as creator and star of a new scripted web series called MORSE CODE, Korby continues to take the definition of ‘independent creative’ and push it forward.
His live shows swing between a whisper and a shout, prompting tastemaker roots mag No Depression to note “One of the most striking things about seeing Lenker perform is his relationship with his guitar. He doesn’t just play it, he becomes it — or, maybe, it becomes a part of him.” Even his approach to making records is unorthodox. Lenker recorded his latest batch of songs in his native Idaho, in various places important to him as a child – the Snake River Canyon, Craters of the Moon, and in a small cabin north of Sun Valley. Letting the natural landscape set the tone, he recorded during the day and slept in a tent at night.
The result, Thousand Springs,
earned, among other accolades, a 4 star review from MOJO Magazine, who dubbed his effort “Scintillating songwriting from a travellin’ man.” Among other things, Lenker is funny. For evidence, look no further than his video Unfortunate Peer Review, in which his friends (luminaries like Rodney Crowell, Kenneth Pattengale from the Milk Carton Kids, Mary Gauthier and many more) lovingly skewer Lenker’s music and personality. Korby is the recipient of numerous songwriting awards – most recently a 1st place win at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriters’ contest (past alum include Gregory Alan Isakov and Deb Talan, to name a few). In March, NPR Music premiered the song and video he wrote and performed with Americana queen Nora Jane Struthers called ‘Let’s Just Have Supper.’
Korby tours constantly and has shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Ray Lamontagne, Nickel Creek and many others. A book nerd since childhood, Korby’s prowess with prose has been duly noted. His collection of short stories, Medium Hero, came out December 2015 on Turner Publishing and received critical praise from such variegated sources as National Book Award-winning author Tim O’Brien, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Kirkus Reviews. In summer of 2018, Lenker turned his efforts toward the small screen, creating a script loosely based on his life as traveling singer-
songwriter. Lenker wrote, produced and stars in a web series called MORSE CODE (watch episode 1 now). The Tennessean called it “charming and dryly funny” and the Nashville Scene gave the self-produced effort a coveted “Critics’ Pick.”
MORSE CODE continues to be funded by Lenker’s fans through a platform called Patreon. It premiered August 3rd, 2018 on Vimeo.
KORBY LENKER PRESS QUOTES.
“One of the most striking things about seeing Lenker perform is his relationship with his guitar. He doesn’t just play it, he becomes it — or, maybe, it becomes a part of him.”
– No Depression
“Scintillating songwriting from a traveling’ man. 4 stars!” – MOJO Magazine
“His self-titled new album is filled with excellent playing, charming hooks and lots of spirited variety — from rootsy vibes to indie-pop.” – Idaho Statesman
“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.” – Music Connection
KORBY ON SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/
Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, October 13, 2017 – “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.” – Music Connection
Belvita Breakfast Bars (National spot March 2015)
1st place Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Finalist 2016
2nd place Hazel Dickens Songwriting Contest 2017
Finalist, New Song Competition 2015
Finalist, Telluride Troubadour Competition 2013
Winner, Kerrville New Folk Contest 2012
Winner, International Songwriting Contest 2010
1st place, Merlefest Songwriting Competition 2006
Finalist, Merlefest Songwriting Competition 2005
1st place, Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival 2004
Rocky Mountain Folks Festival (Lyons, Colorado)
Woody Guthrie Folk Festival
Red River Folk Festival
Sasquatch (The Gorge)
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Kerrville Folk Festival
Daytrotter Session (March 2014)
REVIEWS OF MEDIUM HERO, KORBY’S FIRST BOOK:
“Clever and well-crafted, with a tendency to linger in your mind.”
– Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
“Korby’s keen control of narrative voice is spot-on in each of these stories — distinctive, disarming, entertaining and completely convincing.”
– National Book Award winner Tim O’Brien
“These stories straddle a border between an Everyman’s search for meaning and a highly specialized look at modern Americana. They sometimes feature a young, male protagonist named Simon, whose emotional distance and general dissolution funnel into his sharp, critical view of the world around him. It’s never made explicit whether it’s the same Simon across the different narratives, or extensions of the same ethos, but this lack of distinction works well in stories that slip easily between humor and darkness. In “Pro Wrestling,” for example, Simon and his girlfriend get into an argument that threatens the emotional strength of their relationship before attending a violent (semipro) wrestling match. Lenker’s other recurring protagonist shares his own first name—Korby—and some of Simon’s tendencies toward sharp analysis. The stories, from time to time, touch on the function of religion in their characters’ lives. The author highlights Christianity, a strong belief in God, and the power of prayer in “Everyone Has a Miranda Moment,” in which Korby receives a frantic call from his brother, Keegan, relating to his infant nephew’s dire health. Other stories more tangentially reference spiritual beliefs. The title story is the most harrowing, featuring an unnamed, third-person protagonist whose own perceived lack of remarkability leads him to consider ending his life on a friend’s balcony. Following “Medium Hero” is a single-page, flash-fiction piece, “Twitter Translator,” which, in spite of its cleverness, is disparate from the rest of the collection. “Two Red Rings” revisits Korby during a police traffic stop after he’s been speeding on the highway with a marijuana joint in hand, but what starts as a moment of panic winds up as an encouraging interaction between Korby and the officer as they connect over their mutual love for a particular musical instrument.
A quick, pleasurable set of short stories that track the emotional and intellectual struggles of several young men.”