Kling a ‘wonderful, wacky’ teller

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Around Pike County, the name Kevin Kling might not be recognizable. Yet.

But, after this weekend, Kevin Kling will hold a special place in the minds and hearts of those who are fortunate to hear the master storyteller in concert at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival, said Alabama’s supreme storyteller, Kathryn Tucker Windham.

“Kevin is a marvelous storyteller,” Windham said. “He has the most wonderful outlook on life. He is living life to the fullest and enjoying all that it has to offer and he takes you right along with him. He’s incredible.”

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For more than a decade, Kling has been plunging audiences into his offbeat and wonderful world with animated stories of growing up, traveling the globe and strangeness of others.

The Seattle Times said that few can compare with the gifted Kling, who “skims the surface with laughter one moment and plumbs emotional depths the next.”

In Kevin Kling’s world the mundane becomes magical, and it’s a world where those who enter always want to go back.

Mernette Bray, a member of the sponsoring Brundidge Historical Society, has heard Kling often at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

“When I heard Kevin Kling the first time at Jonesborough, he shared the stage with another teller,” Bray said. “I went to hear the other teller, but I went back again and again to hear Kevin Kling.”

Bray said Kling is like Donald Davis in that he captures an audience.

“He’s a high-energy storytelling teller, and he’ll keep you entertained from his first word to his last and, if he talked all night, that wouldn’t be too long.”

His autobiographical tales are as enchanting as they are true to life—hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning, growing up in Minnesota and eating things before knowing what they are.

Kling was born with a congenital birth defect that shriveled his left arm. About six years ago, he was in a motorcycle accident and lost the use of his right arm.

However, he continues to be one of the most popular storytellers in the country, traveling around the globe to storytelling festivals and residences. He is a noted playwright and writes plays and stories in rigorous fashion. He has released a number of compact disc collections of his stories and his first book titled “The Dog Says How” hit the shelves in October.”

Kling’s book and CDs will be available at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival on Saturday at the Trojan Center Theater.

Tickets are available at The Messenger in Troy (334-670-6302) and Rue’s Antiques (334-735-3125) in Brundidge for the 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. performances at the Trojan Center Theater.

The Friday night and Saturday 2 p.m. concerts are sold out.

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival is sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, a partner of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts.