I Hear Voices!

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Bobby Kimmel - 50 Years in Music

Bobby Kimmel moved to Tucson, AZ at age 7. His father was an accomplished classical bass player, and opened a retail music store near the University of Arizona. Bobby was able to try out various instruments and take lessons as a child. By the time he started high school he had developed a passion for jazz which his father indulged. He had a collection of over 100 albums at age 17. He did not do well on any of the instruments he tried until about the time he finished high school and discovered the guitar.

Bobby Kimmel and Linda Ronstadt
Bobby Kimmel with Linda Ronstadt 1968 

It was the late 50s, rock n' roll had changed the face of popular music, and the folk music infusion was about to create a whole new musical culture, and a new genre of guitar-playing singer-songwriters. Bobby found his musical expression.

He listened to all the great folk guitar players of the day, and the roots players too. He studied and practiced in a way he never had before. A college town in the early 60s would have a folk music community, and places where they gathered. It was there Bobby met Linda Ronstadt when she was about 15 years old. She already had that glorious voice. They began playing together in the coffee houses and clubs.

Record Chart From 1967
Top o' The Charts in 1967!

Bobby moved to LA in the early 60s, and convinced Linda to join him there as soon as she graduated high school. They formed The Stone Poneys and recorded 3 albums for Capitol Records in the 60s. They had a break-out hit with Different Drum in 1967. It went to #1 and the group started playing national tours, with groups like The Association and Jim Morrison and the Doors. They played the Johnny Carson Show in New York.

When the Stone Poneys disbanded in the late 60s, Bobby opened up a weekend concert series at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. It quickly became one of the premier acoustic music venues in the country, and is still open today. Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Glen Frey, Don Henley, Tom Waits, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Chet Atkins, Ricky Scaggs and the rock band Little Feat and all played McCabe's shows. LA was a musical hot bed, and McCabe's was right in the middle of it all.

McCabe's Guitar Shop
McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA

After he left McCabe's in the mid-70s Bobby spent some time on the road with folk music legends Doc & Merle Watson. Then he spent several more years promoting tours of American folk artists in Japan. He went on several of those tours as road manager, and twice playing bass with Geoff Muldaur and Amos Garrett.

In 2001 Bobby moved back to Tucson and picked up a musical career that had been mostly dormant through the 80s and 90s. He formed the group 4 Corners with long-time Tucson musicians Stefan George & Lavina White, and his LA buddy, singer Jo Wilkinson. Later Bobby continued on with Stefan and Lavinia as the trio BK Special. They recorded 2 CDs and a live CD at McCabe's.

In 2012, Bobby formed the vocal group I Hear Voices! A review of their debut CD in the Tucson Weekly said, “While Kimmel's lifelong claim to fame was that he was an original Stone Poney, it is this group he should best be remembered for.”

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