"If I didn't have music, I'd be a miserable human being." -- Darrin Kobetich
After working as a graphic designer for 24 years, Kobetich, like a lot of people in this economy, found himself laid off. But Darrin is a longtime veteran of the Fort Worth music scene, and he saw this as an opportunity to pursue music full time.
"Illustrating and graphic design is a pretty good job and all," Kobetich said, "but it's great to have time to focus on music. I've been making the best of the time off."
He has a band, the Blackland River Devils, but since 2001, his solo acoustic act has been his passion. And at this month's First Friday on the Green, he took the stage with his own brand of acoustic guitar artistry.
First Friday on the Green is a live concert series put on by Fort Worth South Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to promote the revitalization of Fort Worth's near southside neighborhood. The event is held on the first Friday of every month in the Magnolia on the Green park between Rosedale and Magnolia. The concert is free. The costs of the mobile stage, the first-rate sound system and world-class entertainment is absorbed by the food and beverage vendors (so it's important that you don't bring along a cooler filled with your own refreshments). Spread out on the grass, sitting on blankets and folding chairs, were middle-class families with children, hippies, even hippies with children -- all enjoying the perfect weather and the excellent music. Dogs are welcome, and there was even a concessions stand with food and water for them, too.
It's hard to classify Kobetich's music. It's a fusion of styles, from Eastern, Delta blues, bluegrass and even vintage rock.
He started off the show with some acoustic slide, faster and more energetic than traditional blues slide playing but the feel was still there. His songs are purely instrumental and delivered with little stage banter or theatrics -- frankly, he doesn't need it. He played with his eyes down, totally fixated on the intricate and frantic notes coming out of his well-worn Taylor guitar. He appeared like a man in a trance, only awakening to humbly thank the crowd for the applause, change tunings and then tear into another frantic sonic tirade.
"I kind of tune everything out." Kobetich said. Kobetich employed both six- and 12-string acoustics in his act, and freely switched between slide, standard fingering and Michael Hedges style slap guitar. Aside from Steel Guitar Rag, a Bob Wills tune, everything Kobetich did on stage was original and was inspired by real-life experiences such as breaking down on the highway, getting stuck in an airport and falling in love. Even though there are no words, emotion and passion flow through his music.
Kobetich says he plans on trying to make a go of it as an artist.
"I'm teaching guitar lessons," he said, "I'm even giving a woman mandolin lessons. Anything musically/artistically inclined, I'm going to try and stay out of the corporate world. I may never get this chance again."
Kobetich has a CD coming out soon, recorded in his home studio using Cubase and mastered by Evan Jones. He will be playing the Storiebook Cafe in Glen Rose on the Friday, and then Fred's Texas Cafe on April 15.
First Friday on the Green: www.fortworthsouth.org/