When Ken Sederdahl was in his 20s working at a gas station, a passerby offered to trade a guitar for Sederdahl’s motorcycle that was parked outside with a “For Sale” sign. He was reluctant, but since the guitar was worth $1,000 and he was only selling the bike for $350, he decided it was a good deal.
But he didn’t sell the guitar.
After the guitar’s former owner restrung the instrument for him and insisted on giving Sederdahl a lesson, he learned “Sweet Home Alabama” and his plans to sell the guitar fizzled.
“It was a chance in a million that somebody would take the time do that,” Sederdahl said. “He really cared enough that he wanted me to learn how to play.”
Decades later, Sederdahl just released a third album with Kenny James Miller Band, a Flathead-based blues rock group that he formed nearly 15 years ago.
Kenny James Miller Band has seen a variety of members over the years, but Sederdahl says the group has always been a “power trio.”
“I’ve always liked the power trio thing,” he said. “There are trios and there are power trios. It’s a lot different when there are three guys pouring their hearts out. Everyone I’ve played with was into that.”
Sederdahl and the band’s current members, bassist Mark Meznarich and drummer Greg Sewell, recorded their new album last fall in Lakeside with a few guest musicians. Sederdahl wrote the 13-song original album, “Tear in My Eye,” with inspiration from ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Government Mule.
After a brief hiatus, Meznarich rejoined the band in April after he was laid off from his oil industry job in North Dakota. With a music background in Los Angeles, he toured with Iron Butterfly before moving to the Flathead in 1990. He didn’t think he would play with a band again until meeting Sederdahl.
Prior to Kenny James Miller Band, Sewell played with multiple groups, including The Francisco Bro’s Band, Guitar George McGuire and Big Daddy and the Blue Notes.
While the band occasionally performs cover songs at their concerts, Sederdahl is passionate about writing and playing original tunes, and says there are already plenty of cover bands.
“I’ve always had a desire to do original music,” he said.
A self-described “late bloomer,” Sederdahl didn’t perform until he was 35 on top of Big Mountain.
“I was scared to death to be in front of people,” he said. “I still have a little of that fear, but it’s not nearly as bad.”
Kenny James Miller Band is already scheduled for a busy summer with almost every Saturday booked and plans to travel to Washington and Idaho, where Sederdahl says the group has a larger following.
With steady gigs at local bars and restaurants and a few private shows, the band has continued playing throughout the pandemic besides a few slow months last spring.
Kenny James Miller Band plans to play an album-release party this spring in the Flathead, although the date and location are to be determined.
“Tear in My Eye” can be streamed anywhere and CDs can be purchased at www.kjmband.com.
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