Born in Philadelphia, Kevin Roth was a child prodigy, playing the piano by ear from the age of three. At thirteen he discovered the mountain dulcimer and fell in love with its sound and peaceful quality. Although the traditional music of the dulcimer is simple, Kevin's musical background and interests ranged from Peter, Paul and Mary, to jazz, classical, and world music. He followed his calling and developed a style of dulcimer playing completely his own.
This unique sound caught the ear of Moses Asch, legendary founder and director of Folkways Records, who signed Kevin in 1974, to what would become a twelve-album deal. Kevin quickly became known around the world as a leading innovative dulcimer player. His entire Folkways collection is now part of the Smithsonian Folkways label.
In the early eighties, Kevin began to write, record, and perform for children. His music career skyrocketed as he produced award-winning albums and made numerous television and concert appearances. He sang the theme song to the hit PBS/FOX television show, “Shining Time Station”, based on the character of Thomas the Tank Engine. He also wrote and sang the music for several of the series' music videos. Kevin has recorded for Sony Kids, Random House, National Geographic, and the Book-of-the-Month Club, to name a few.
His concert appearances and albums have carried him across the country and abroad, performing in solo and symphony concerts, music festivals, and the White House, and making television and radio appearances. Parent magazine wrote about Kevin, "...everything children's music should be - funny, sweet, entertaining and a little bit silly."
In 1984, Kevin formed his own label, Star Gazer Productions. He joined forces in 2006 with his long-time mentor, Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary, to record a collection of songs based on Kevin's original artwork. The resulting CD/DVD collaboration, Between the Notes, garnered rave reviews. His art and music was premiered at the San Diego Museum of Art. His latest CD “Metamorphous” has been called “Moving & brilliant”. Mostly original songs, he focuses on inner-reflection about love, loss, hope and discovery’. This recording takes his vocals and the dulcimer to new heights both melodically and percussively. Also included is John Denver’s’ Leaving on a Jet Plane”, John Mayer’s “Walt Grace Submarine Ride” , Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw It Away” and an instrumental version of Stings “Field of Barley.” His new work, a one man theatre show will be produced in 2016.
In nearly 40 years, Kevin has performed everywhere from concert halls to the White House. His music includes original songs , instrumentals, folk, jazz and avant-garde pieces of work. His vast career also spans a large repertoire of children’s music, books and television shows. He sang the theme to the hit PBS TV show “Shining Time Station “ ( Thomas the Tank Engine ) and created several new musical instruments; The Soul Zither & The Guitarcimer for his adult audiences.
Kevin continues to perform at Universities ,festivals, concert halls, and music venues. Along with his music, his” artist in residency” and key note speaking engagements continue to support the arts as an avenue for healing and peace.
“Was it through the third or fourth encore, you had the audience totally under your spell” Grand Opera House, Wilmington DE.
“He sings like a bird and plays the most luscious dulcimer you’ve ever heard” Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary)
“His music is thought provoking. His mellifluous voice and dulcimer playing is both rare and enchanting. His body of work is proof there’s something magnificent still going on”. Phila Inquirer