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Take musical journey at Sautee show
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Mick Kinney performs Saturday in Sautee.

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An excerpt of "Mosaic," a piano composition by ragtime musician Mick Kinney from Kinney's CD, "Rag Nouveau."

Mick Kinney

When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center, 283 Ga. 255 N., Sautee
How much: $15 members, $20 nonmembers
More info: 706-878-3300

He discovered traditional fiddle music as he hiked the Appalachian Trail at age 17. But he didn't stop there.

Atlanta-based musician Mick Kinney has played swing, ragtime, Cajun fiddle, jazz piano and sung cabaret.

He is "a chameleon of a sort," an "actor" who slips easily into different roles, from a Bob Dylan-esque folkie to a Cole Porter-style swing singer.

And audience members can see Kinney and his myriad music styles Saturday at the latest Evening Star Concert at the Sautee Nacoochee Center.

"I'm going to tell my musical life story and kind of my journey and talk about people I've played with and things like that," Kinney said.

Kinney said he will perform with "some incarnation" of his band, the Gypsy Hicks, for Saturday's performance, as well as sing cabaret with Elise Witt, who also has performed at Evening Star in the past.

"I really am a very strong proponent of Georgia fiddle music," Kinney said. "Since it's going to be in the mountains in North Georgia, I might do a Georgia fiddle tune."

Kinney also will perform some swing tunes, which he said still sound fresh today.

"My son's in a swing band," he said. "They're hearing it like a young person in the '30s. Some tunes are almost 100 years old, but to them it's brand-new."

Kinney said performers like Stranger Malone, Jimmy Durante and Fatz Waller top his list for inspiration because they did more than just sing - they entertained.

"I put a high value on humor in my act," Kinney said. "I really try to entertain people. I try to tell stories; I try to tell jokes."

Kinney said he keeps his music light.

"I do very little somber philosophical music," he said. "There's way too much of that self pity in music. They can pay for therapy elsewhere."

Kinney said he will bring copies his new CD, "The Mick Kinney Secret Songbook," to the show on Saturday. The CD features cabaret and swing, and Kinney said the "lyrics are old-fashioned, like Cole Porter."

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