Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Biographical Information for George Kinney

Born 1946 in Austin, Texas
Mother Cleora Deitz Kinney, born in Richwood, West Virginia
Father Girard Kinney senior, born in Stonewall, Texas, adjacent ranch to the LBJ ranch

Mother and father were both involved in the Austin Theatrical scene during George's childhood. His father went to UT and was roommate with Zachary Scott. Cleora was one of the early directors of the Austin Civic Theater. Three of the Kinney children entertained audiences between acts at theatrical performances at the ACT: Girard Jr, Ginny, and George, collectively forming the group, "The Kinney Kids". George also performed a solo act (age 4), having to climb up on a stool to reach the mike. He donned a cowboy outfit and sang "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and "Old Chisolm Trail"

Published first series of short stories in the Austin American while attending 2nd grade at Zilker Elementary, in Sue McBee's column.

He served as page in the Texas House of Representatives at the age of 12, skipping the 6th grade.
George sang in school choir with Roky Erickson. Roky taught George how to make a "D" chord in 1962. Roky and George often were seen hanging around on the Drag adjacent to the University of Texas campus, sitting on the sidewalk playing their guitars because they were too young to get in the clubs/ coffee houses where early folk musicians, Allen Dameron, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Townes Van Zandt were beginning their careers.

Kinney joined the band, Chelsea, (1966) with John Andrews (Guitar Jake's dad), and frequent sit-ins such as Benny Rowe, and Powell St. John. George became lead singer, singing cover versions of songs by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan.

Kinney knew he was destined to perform his own songs, and the Chelsea dissolved leaving Kinney with time on his hands and a head full of song ideas. From then on he would continue to write songs, continuously, for the next twenty-five years, compiling over 200 songs as of the 1999 CD "After the Fall"

In 1968 Kinney formed a new band, naming it The Golden Dawn, after the secret esoteric order found in rare hermetic spiritual literature. The Golden Dawn was the ultimate good old south Austin boy garage band, turned on.

Roky Erickson and Tommy Hall, 13th Floor Elevators members, supported and encouraged the Golden Dawn, helping them sign a record deal with the Elevators' label, International Artist, out of Houston. Roky was often quoted as saying George's album was the best album ever produced by International Artists.

The record was recorded and ready for release a year before the Elevator release, "Easter Everywhere", but held back so the Elevator's record would hit the shelves first. This was a major disaster for Kinney and his band because all the reviews of the "Power Plant" album more or less implied that the record, though innovative, was merely a copy cat version of "Easter Everywhere", even though it had actually been composed and recorded long before the famed Elevator album.

A recent resurgence of Power Plant record sales in Europe, notably England and France, is proving the songs have survived the test of 30 years of relative obscurity, establishing forever the credibility and authenticity of the album. Early critics may soon be rethinking their conclusions regarding the legendary band.

Kinney broke up the band and headed for California in 1970, seeking new musical and creative opportunities. On the west coast he jammed with Houston guitarist Jerry Lightfoot, bassist Harry Buckholtz and drummer, Jack Scarborough.

For the next several years, George played in a rock band, Headstone, with friends, John Kearney, and Jay and Britt Edwards. During this period, Kinney formed "Pyramid Publishing Co. and published Roky Erickson's first edition of "Openers". The manuscripts were smuggled out of the maximum security ward at Rusk State Mental Institute by Kinney, in his boot, to avoid detection and possible confiscation..

In 1973, Kinney headed for Nashville, determined to salvage his fragile career by seeking creative solstice in the hills of old Tennessee.

Within a week, he bought a house in Kingston Springs at the very spot where his car broke down, and met Nashville songwriting legend, Vince "The Indian" Matthews. Mathews introduced Kinney to Johnny Cash who was so impressed with Kinney's singing that he suggested to Mathews that Kinney get the lead singing part in a musical documentary being produced jointly by Cash and Mathews. The work was titled "The Kingston Springs Suite".

The pilot show for the "Suite" was presented at the House of Cash Studios in Hendersonville, invitation only, to the cream of the Nashville elite. Kinney received a standing ovation for his singing performance.

In 1978, Kinney became ill and moved back to Texas to be near his family in case his illness proved fatal. He barely survived, and decided to re-enter the University of Texas where he earned a B.S. degree in Advertising, graduated with honors in English, and earned a Texas teaching certificate for Journalism, English, and Spanish. (1978-1981).

During his UT career, he composed a collection of short stories and began a novel depicting a fictional account of the psychological implications of the late sixties, set in post millennium Mexico, titled "The Bandit King" currently available http://georgekinney.com/bking.htm to supplement the release of Kinney's new CD "After the Fall" The novel was completed in 1999.

Other professional notes should include a stint as Executive director of the Sixth Street Merchants Association (The Sixth Street Conservation Society), during which Kinney, with help from long-time friend Terry Boothe and ad man, Ken Moyer, conceived and implemented the "Texas Walk of the Stars" side walk improvement project in the historical Sixth Street district in downtown Austin (1987-1990).

During that period, Kinney rousted long time friend Benny Rowe out of retirement and formed the band "Benny and the Jags" which enjoyed a small but loyal following, playing at Joe's Generic Bar and other 6th Street venues. Austin music entrepreneur Tim O'Connor financed a recording session for this group, though it never made vinyl and the master ended up getting lost at the studio.

From 1991 to 1993, Kinney served as the head of the Journalism department at Wimberley High School in Wimberley, Texas, where he was dismissed in a standing ovation of student applause for defending the students' first amendment rights. 

Kinney then retreated to the Pedrenales River to do a recording session with Pete Gordon, Matt Eskey, Steve Watson, Mike Knust, and Mark Salmon. Some of those 1994 songs were the beginnings of the material on "After The Fall".

From 1994 to 2003, Kinney's musical appearances were almost exclusively reserved for Terry Boothe's campfire concerts at the south Texas ranch and in Bee Cave. In addition, Jerry Lightfoot, the famed Houston blues guitar wizard and song writing master, continued to support Kinney's musical talents and Kinney was a regular performer at Lightfoot's monthly gig at the famous Houston blues hotspot, Billy Blues, until it closed it's doors in 2004.

In January, 1999 producer Pete Gordon and Freedom Records' Matt Eskey, joined Kinney in his effort to produce his first record/CD in thirty years, "After the Fall", released by Freedom Records in November, 2000.

George booked the band for a three-month tour in 2003 and, with Lightfoot at his side, they left for a wonderful tour of the great American northwest, playing venues in Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diago, Phoenix, and Tuscon. 

There is a CD, released in November of 2006, TEXAS MEDICINE, which is now available at Waterloo Records in Austin and also on line from George himself through this site. Just order via the email address below.

There will also be a new CD to be released REBEL HEART.  Look for it to be announced soon. 

These days, George plays Austin venues with Houston's Guitar hero James Henry, drummer Michael Morris, keyboard Pete Gordon, and plays solo acoustic gigs on the east coast from time to time, or out to Phoenix to play with long-time friend and musical ally, Dude Edwards. 

Important to note, Jerry Lightfoot, George's friend and stage-mate for over 35 years, passed away in September, 2006. George played Jerry's last gig with him, in Austin, on Jerry's birthday, the day before the fatal accident occurred that took his life. Mysteriously, Jerry told George and Nancy that night that it would be his last gig.

In addition to his musical interests, George has finished his Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and he and his wife of 30 years, Nancy, plan to open an acupuncture clinic in Austin and another clinic in San Juan de Alima, Michuacan, Mexico.

Contact information:
E-mail: kinney777@aol.com