An Old Soul And An Up And Coming Musician
On a summer day driving down a side street in Mauston you see children playing, homeowners tending to their lawns, and couples strolling by simple houses rich with history. If you look closely you may also spot a young man sitting on the steps of his home, strumming a guitar. That young man is 17 year old, Kyle Roberts and he will more than likely be taking in the sounds around him – the birds chirping, children laughing, and distant conversations. He is capturing the essence of the area he calls home and turning it into music as he strums his guitar.
Since he was 4 years old, Kyle has called Mauston home. It has been the place where he has made lasting friendships, volunteered to help others, and most importantly, has nurtured his creative gifts. As a pre-teen, he left his mark on murals decorating downtown. Murals created by Diane Dahl, a local artist who welcomed his help in painting them for others to enjoy.
Kyle was also one of the very first students to sign up and be accepted to the iLEAD Charter School in Mauston. A school that places emphasis on entrepreneurial and leadership skills in a project based learning environment. An environment that created a sanctuary for him to explore and grow his creative gifts.
One of those gifts is his ear for music. Kyle is a self taught guitarist and while he cannot read music and has only been playing the guitar since he was 12, he is being recognized as an up and coming Blues musician. Just last year Kyle spent time in Memphis surrounded by legends in Blues music. While there, he performed on a morning television show, Live at 9. Amazed by his talents, many of those legends suggested that Kyle leave Wisconsin and move to the Home of the Blues where he could rise to the top faster.
“I couldn’t do that,” said Kyle. “I love iLEAD too much, it is my home and I want to finish out high school there.”
Returning back to Mauston, Kyle settled back into being the humble young man that he is, but he has not stopped playing and creating his music. A member of the Mauston High School Band and Jazz Band, he also plays the trumpet. In his free time he joined up with other local musicians, singer Bree Morgan and drummer John Nokovic, forming a collaborative effort in covering classics and creating, hopefully soon to be, hits.
One of those hopeful soon to be hits is a song called, “It Feels Like Home.” Listening to it will take you back to a time when folk rock was the rage. For Kyle, playing ‘It Feels Like Home‘ on the guitar he loves reminds him of growing up in Mauston, his family, and everything he holds dear. Lyrics to the piece were written by J.P. Olson, a Juneau County resident, and widow of the late James Austin of The Platters,
When Kyle does have some spare time, you can find him crafting cigar box guitars or taking an old tube radio and turning it into an amp for his vintage guitar.
An old soul in a young body is how many refer to Kyle. This summer he is proving all who say that to be right as he has taken on a summer internship writing job with The Messenger of Juneau County. As part of the project, Kyle had to pick a topic he could write about for 12 weeks and fill up an entire page of the paper each week. It should be no surprise that Kyle decided to call his page in The Messenger, History Alive in Juneau County. It is a special section of the newspaper where he shares unique stories of the past about the interesting places and people who have called the local area home throughout the decades.
A special thank you to The Messenger for writing this guest post.