In 1970, I married a hippie named Rob. I knew him from our high school in Ogden, Utah. Rob loved music and musicians, of which I was one back then. He was one of the first consumers of the alternative rock music then popping up on FM radio. He attended concerts of every rock band that came through Salt Lake City. He collected recordings of outstanding music by obscure groups, including one named Rig.
Rob found the vinyl LP in a cutout bin at Skaggs drug store. He was delighted with the discovery and for good reason. The album is a blending of country-folk-rock-gospel with jazz overtones, in a matrix of social responsibility and love found, experienced, and mourned. We played that record until it was scarred with pops and scratches. I adapted my favorites from it to my own autoharp-accompanied style of solo folk singing.
My marriage to Rob came and went. I kept the Rig album, which languished in the cool, dark cabinet where Ted and I stored our LPs. Eventually, we bought a gadget that enabled us to digitize our LPs. The first one out of the cabinet was Rig. I was electrified when I heard it again. Aside from the pops and scratches, the music had lost nothing to the intervening decades and was even richer for the torrent of memories it evoked.
I got curious about the album. Who are these guys? Where are they now? In the liner notes, one name appeared more frequently than the others--Kendell Kardt (keyboards, guitar, and vocals). So I googled Kendell Kardt and arrived at a web site that described a musician who is also a social activist on behalf of those whose housing is challenged by commercial and government interests.
An audience still exists for Kendell's music beyond me. You can hear his music at Boneyard Media (search on Kendell Kardt at the bottom of the left-hand column) and on Kendell's own site, kendelkardt.com, which is filled not only with music, but his fascinating password-required memoir, a work in progress.
I posted a letter to Mr. Kardt. I never expected a response, but I got one, along with an email address and phone number. Kendell and I began corresponding. I now have a friend both sober and playful, an explorer with a crisp intellect and wide-ranging interests, a spiritual seeker, a student of the works of Martin Heidegger, a cigarette-smoking brother who refuses to take himself seriously, yet who comprehends the finality of his actions and the difference he makes.
These pages tell of this bewildering, big-voiced, light-hearted, and devoted friend.