Born where the industrial heartbeat of Cleveland, Ohio kisses the serene shores of Lake Erie, Ken Margolis is more than just a musician; he’s a sonic storyteller. Guided by the rhythmic pulse of his hometown and the revolutionary vibrations of the 60’s and 70’s, Ken became a self-taught piano prodigy, plucking notes from thin air and weaving them into memorable story songs. Not just a musician, but a maestro of sound and emotion, Ken’s journey is a melody composed of hard work, passion, and a ceaseless yearning for creative expression.
Now Margolis is preparing to release his best effort yet, his first solo release entitled, Hope and Courage. It’s not just an album; it’s a passport to Americana’s heartland. From the soulful strains of Folk to the pulsating rhythms of Funk, with pit stops in RnB, Country, and Rock—Ken masterfully stitches together a rich tapestry that echoes America’s diverse musical heritage.
While his work may not be on your radar, Ken’s early years in Cleveland saw him not just playing the keyboard, but dancing in synchrony with the era’s rising stars. Contemporary legends like Wally Bryson, Joe Walsh, and Eric Carmen shared the same musical air as Ken, shaping an era of unparalleled creativity. It was in this heady environment that Ken shared stages with giants of the time—the Who, Herman’s Hermits, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bobby Womack, to name just a few.
Ken’s vocal magic first shimmered with the 60’s sensation, The Choir, crooning on hits like “Gonna Have a Good Time Tonight.” Later, Omnivore Recordings would release albums Artifact and Last Call. During this time, his creative hunger drove him deeper into the world of songwriting, forging partnerships with bands from Cleveland to California, from “Sittin’ Ducks” to “Sanctuary.”
Though he rode the power-pop waves of the swinging 60’s, Ken took his sweet time to gift us with this solo gem. Packed to the brim with LA’s crème de la crème of session players, every track resonates with virtuosity. But here’s the cherry on top: the album was helmed by Ken’s own progeny, Ethan (the melodic maverick known as Emaginario), and finessed by the legendary Dave O’Donnell—the very hands that crafted magic with James Taylor and Keith Richards.
Top session musicians including Gary Novak, Jimmy Haslip, Ariel Posen, Reggie Hamilton, Bob Sheppard, Munyungo Jackson, Diego Álvarez, and Ethan Margolis amongst others, were on hand to help Ken create songs that explore the intersection of human struggle and the natural world, resulting in an album that is a testament to Ken’s unyielding commitment to authenticity and passion.
From the rhythmic heartbeats of Cleveland to the sun-kissed shores of his current home of Santa Cruz, Hope and Courage has arrived just in time to cement his legacy as a beacon of musical brilliance. His life—a rich tapestry interwoven with the sounds of eras past and the promise of melodies yet to come—stands as a testament to the transformative power of music. With an innate ability to write songs that reflect the poignant union of human endeavor and nature’s grandeur, Ken’s journey isn’t just about the songs he’s crafted but the hearts he’s touched. As “Hope and Courage” echoes through speakers and headphones around the world, one thing is certain: Ken Margolis’s musical journey is still in its opening act.
“As a legend in the music industry, Ken’s personal dedication to the event was admirable and a tribute to his professional talent.”
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (August, 1994)
FOUR STAR REVIEW for Artifact by The Choir – “Well done, this retro-release sounds remixed and downright fabulous!”
- Rolling Stone Magazine – Deutschland
“Singer and keyboardist Ken Margolis drives the Choir’s rocking “I Can’t Stay in Your Life,” suggesting a cross between early Chicago and Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.”
- The Big Takeover (June, 2020)
“Nostalgia was a winner when the Choir sold out this Cleveland venue on March 4, drawing fans who used to see the storied band in the late ’60s at National Guard armory shows, teen dances and early…”
- Billboard.com (March, 2006)