Key to my cage

Michael Kirkpatrick ’01

The human voice is our oldest acoustic instrument and it’s still one of the most captivating. Add a few well struck strings—just a few chords even—and you have a remarkable symphony of bass, harmony, lyrics, and emotion.

This is the beguiling formula of Michael Kirkpatrick ’01. He’s a troubadour, both self-described and according to the 2014 Telluride Troubadour Competition, which he won. Performing some 150 dates a year from his Fort Collins, Colorado, base, he writes his own tunes and for the most part plays all the instruments. His eighth album, Key to My Cage, which he also produced and recorded, has him playing mandolins, guitars, harmonica, lap steel, percussion, and tape echo, with accompaniment on just four of the 11 tracks.

They’re all supporting characters. The voice—deep, resonant, confident, and graceful—is the star as he ranges over songs about nature, love, and personal reflection. “Come Back Home to Me” brings them all together in vigorous, joyful tribute to singing from the heart.