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Artist Details

Kurt Fortmeyer
Contact: E-Mail (Kurt Fortmeyer) 
Date Born/Group Began: May 25, 1956 (Kurt Fortmeyer) 
Date Died/Group Ended:
Also Known As:
Kurt Fortmeyer was born in a barn and raised in a stable environment, or so he might tell an unwitting listener in one of his sillier moments. His life was changed irreparably at a tender and impressionable age when he was subjected to Roger Miller’s “Do-Wacka-Do”, as well as recordings of Allan Sherman, Chubby Checker, and Trini Lopez.
After being sentenced to play in several unremarkable garage bands while still in high school, Kurt was paroled and released into the custody of PAYDIRT, a rag-tag folk-rock group of writers and other misfits. The late 1970s found him stretching his wings for a solo flight at the now-defunct HOLE IN THE WALL SALOON on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, North Carolina. Later, while under the influence of Jack Kerouac, Jesse Winchester, and Townes Van Zandt, Kurt spent some time hitchhiking coast-to-coast, playing in the streets and parks of New Orleans, New York, Memphis, and San Francisco.

In the early 1980’s, Kurt was in Greenville, North Carolina fronting THE GUISE, whose repertoire ran the gamut from George Jones and Johnny Cash to Iggy Pop and The Cramps, as well as hard-to-classify originals. Relocating to Raleigh in 1983, Kurt once again pursued the solo angle. While gigging with short-lived funk/blues party band BUTT MUSCLE (which included former-Backslider Steve Howell, blues whiz “Near Blind James” Shoe, and former-Bad Checks drummer Mike Griffin) a videotape was made that resulted in Kurt being drafted as a “hired gun” harmonica player and second guitarist in the popular Raleigh cowpunk ensemble THE LEOPARD SOCIETY.

After hosting a Bluegrass and Classic Country radio show for about a year, the next band out of the chute for Kurt was THE NERVOUS TICKS, who gained some local rock radio airplay with his “Tommy Don’t Cry”.

Having built his own house, and moved out to what used to be rural southern Wake county, Kurt once again returned to his folkie roots. Brandishing his acoustic guitar and harmonicas, writing and playing original songs with a traditional bent, Kurt was found in venues as wide-ranging as Montessori Schools, motorcycle bars, restaurants, and rest homes. He has performed at THE FESTIVAL FOR THE ENO, THE CASTALIAN SPRINGS BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL and THE HAW RIVER FESTIVAL.

In October of 1994, he became a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
In January of 1995, Kurt was honored with inclusion in the “Music of North Carolina” series at the NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF HISTORY in Raleigh.
In November of 1997, Kurt and his wife Nina opened HYPHEN COFFEEHOUSE in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina which quickly built a reputation as a must-play venue for traveling singer/songwriters.
In the summer of 2003, the Fortmeyers closed the Hyphen and began preparing for a move to Nashville, Tennessee.
When he’s not performing his original tunes at writers’ nights around Nashville, Kurt can often be heard performing songs by other singer-songwriters such as Robert Earl Keen, Tom Russell, Guy Clark, Darden Smith, and Butch Hancock. Kurt has shared the stage with Grammy-winning songwriters Steve Leslie and R.L. Castleman. and Hall Of Fame songwriters Don Wayne and Jimmy Payne. He has opened shows for a good number of artists including Livingston Taylor, Emmylou Harris, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.
As at home in front of a microphone as he is on a front porch, Kurt plays real music, by, for, and about real people. Amen.
(Kurt Fortmeyer)

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