'Last Frontier' star presents living room concert
Atz Kilcher, singer-songwriter and star of Discovery’s “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” told stories and performed original music on Saturday afternoon in the home of Mike Prebezac and Toni Silicio-Prebezac.
“For me, this is very special,” Silicio-Prebezac said. “Everyone has something else they could be doing, but they took the time to come here, and share in something special.”
Kilcher capitivated his audience of 30 from the first song, in which he sang about the first song he ever wrote – a song about a song.
The tribute was to the first original song he wrote at the age of 13.
His first song, titled “Silvergun,” is about love and betrayal on a level that a 13-year-old would not normally identify with.
When Kilcher began to perform the song for others and received praise, he realized he was a genuine songwriter.
“I was only 13 when she found me,” Kilcher said with tear-filled eyes. “I found a lover who put her arms around me and stayed with me all my life,”
He reassured everyone that they were tears of happiness. “I am so damn happy,” Kilcher said.
It wasn’t always this way though. Kilcher has battled alcoholism, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Vietnam War veteran.
Kilcher said he has “a foot in two civilizations” at times. Growing up on a homestead in 1940’s Alaska gave Kilcher an appreciation of nature and taught him and his siblings how to live a simpler life.
Kilcher’s parents moved from Switzerland to Alaska in the early 1940’s in an effort to escape the occupation of Nazi troops.
Even though most of their days were filled with work, the Kilcher children were encouraged to pursue music and storytelling.
They were encouraged to take time to “find their song.” Kilcher’s mother once told him if he had to choose between growing vegetables and growing flowers – grow flowers.
An appreciation of the arts and beauty was instilled in the Kilcher children, and has continued on to the next generation.
Well-known singer-songwriter Jewel is Kilcher’s daughter. Kilcher is proud of his daughter as she carries on the family’s musical heritage, and has also come to appreciate his own path in life.
He told a story about sitting alone in front of a campfire and thinking about Jewel performing in front of an audience of 5,000. He had about $100 dollars in the bank to her millions and was feeling jealous and a little sorry for himself.
It was in that moment that he realized it didn’t matter if he was performing for thousands of people or just two, he was doing what he loved.
When introducing his song called “Keep Me Wild,” Kilcher echoed that theme and reminded everyone that we’re all “wild critters,” and need to pursue what makes us happy on a deeper level of being.
Intermingled between Kilcher’s songs, were songs performed by local guitarist and vocalist Peter Frothingham.
Frothingham is a member of the band Gopher Broke, and met Kilcher in the 1980’s when performing in Alaska.
Frothingham approached Kilcher with the idea of doing some shows in Washington.
“It’s a return to an old friendship, a reawakening of friendship and songwriting, and a mutual admiration of each other’s work,” Frothingham said.
For those listening, the words “meditation” and “church” were the first to come to mind when asked about the performance.
Many said his stories and songs were honest and had a deep sincerity in their approach to the themes of nature, love, good times and bad.
“It was a time to take a deep breath and zone in,” Silicio-Prebezac said.
Kilcher has performed all over the country and recently fufilled his dream of singing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. However, as he grows older and his hearing starts to fade, Kilcher is starting to favor more intimate settings, and prefers living rooms to music halls.
“Singing around a campfire and singing in a living room is, for me, perfection,” Kilcher said.
To learn more about Kilcher, visit www.atzkilcher.com and www.discovery.com/tv-shows/alaska-the-last-frontier.