Bocephus King is a tall, lanky dude with the face of an angel buried deep beneath seven layers of stubble. His suit, some altered off the rack number he picked up for forty bucks, lends him the appearance of someone who just fell off the screen next to Bogart in They Drive By Night.
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He sits down and looks at you with his emerald green eyes and starts telling you a story. You can�t quite tell by the look on his face if it�s going to be a good story � or a good reason to get drunk. You listen because there is an energy flowing through this fellow you can�t ignore.
He tells you his name is Bocephus King, born in Vancouver, Canada, but raised a few miles south in Point Roberts, Washington � an isolated enclave of Americans who got rich selling beer to border hopping Canadians on Sunday. His dad was the sometimes bouncer at the local bar. His mother was a waitress. Bocephus King found a refuge in music.
One day he sat with his brother�s Sears guitar and his world changed. He realized that he could play almost anything by ear and started blowing away the local jam sessions with his sweet fingers. He created band after band, writing his own songs, getting bar gigs while he was still under-age and moving through the talent pool until he finally lapped it.
Then he heard John Coltrane. From that point on, he says, he knew that music wasn�t just pop clutter spewing from the airwaves. It could be everything that makes us human.
He pulls out a disc player and puts the headphones over your ears. The music feels strangely comforting, a rich collage of acoustic guitars, shook up rhythms, indelible melodies and some of the most perceptive lyrics you�ve ever heard. You close your eyes and realize that every song is a snapshot of some time and place in this guys life, yours too, and you don�t even know him. He is just some guy in two-tone bucks, wearing an off-the-rack suit who needs a shave, but he�s got you. He can tell a story.
He tells you that you have been listening to his debut album entitled A Small Good Thing, soon to be released by the new indie label New West Records. And that he and his band are itching to hit the road, and will be touring nonstop. His energy is flowing now, his excitement is contagious.
Before you know it, he�s telling you why he took the name Bocephus King � something to do with the years he spent in the southern states playing his songs, and traveling from town to town. How everybody called old-style roots music �Bocephus� music. It was a throwback to another time and place, a place he would have belonged � a time when Bocephus was a King. He was younger then, just nineteen. He tells you about heading to Mexico, of days and nights on the Gulf Coast, the streets of New Orleans, California and the Pacific Northwest. You�re starting to realize that they have all found their way into the music, and how young the face is behind the beard.
Next thing you know you�re hearing a wild road story about a bunch of musicians from Vancouver heading to Minnesota to make a record. It�s one of those classic musician tales of cross-country driving, bad food and fatigue. Long days and nights at Pachyderm studios, a converted 70�s mansion on the outskirts of Minneapolis.
�It was wild. There was eight of them all staying up at the house. I slept in the bunk above the studio if I slept. We recorded all day and all night and only slept when we had to. The songs and the stories just kept coming. It was kind of crazy. He certainly is a character and a great talent,� says co-producer Brent Sigmeth.
Bocephus and his band, The Rigalattos, headed home to Vancouver. It was there, between bouts of sleep and a lot of old movies, that he put the finishing touches on the record.
He spins off on some tangent about Richard E. Grant, the merits of Withnall and I, and his affinity for Wim Wenders because, as he says, �he�s so human.� The movie chatter could go on until the Wild Turkey gives up the ghost. What�s important is that the record is finished now, you may even have a copy of it in your hands. Look at it. Give it to your ears and you will hear a story in every sweet melody, every turn of phrase makes you say, �I�ve been there.�
Bocephus King will tell you the record is what it is � it�s like life � and he is right. It is A Small Good Thing.
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