The Wichita Eagle Friday, January 10, 2003
By Kevin Sheedy, The Wichita Eagle
away from a gig with a legendary band that plays worldwide -- after 15
years of courting that gig -- was simple for Kevin May.
simple as looking at his wife, Jean, and his newborn son, Taylor.
Wichita saxophone player, who will perform as part of the Wichita Blues
Society's fifth annual Blues Ball on Saturday, joined the critically
acclaimed and highly successful Roomful of Blues in 1998. That's the same
bunch that gave us Duke Robillard, Greg Piccolo, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray
Norcia and Big Joe Turner, as well as numerous stellar albums.
was a dream come true," May said at home recently while battling
bronchitis. "I had courted that job for almost 15 years.... I'd drive
to Dallas or to Kansas City or Oklahoma City just to keep in touch.
was a great time to be in the band because in the year and a half, we
toured Europe, we did the Caribbean, we did North America several times,
we made a record album, we did a cruise.
that span, I did about every single thing you could possibly want to
enjoy his family.
on the road took its toll on the graduate of West High School and Wichita
State University, and he and his wife had a newborn son in addition to
three daughters. After only a year and a half with his dream gig, May and
his family left Providence, R.I., and headed back to Wichita.
only thing that was worth leaving it for was my family. I have a wonderful
wife that I love to death."
being raised in the Midwest with its much-heralded family values help
influence the switch? The 43-year-old May says that might have been a
factor, but he suspects something simpler came into play.
came from a great family --and I was raised here," he said. And being
a lifelong musician, May had seen broken relations left by the side of the
road of traveling musicians.
couple of years removed from Roomful of Blues finds May content with his
life in Wichita. He teaches sax and guitar lessons to about 25 students
four days a week from his house, and his band, Kevin May and the
Deaconairs, stays busy playing a variety of gigs in the area.
doesn't turn his nose up at playing something other than the blues. The
need to support his family persuaded him to form a band versatile enough
to play just about anything needed to secure a gig. May thinks he has
found that versatility with Howard O. Bedient on keyboards, David Keller
on guitar and Don Stewart on drums.
you're younger, you want to prove something, you want to be an
artist," May says. "There's nothing against that. But sometimes
you will not do things you need to do to make a living.
pretty much threw all that out the window."