When there’s a story — or an album’s worth of stories — inside you, it’s going to find a way to come out. For Vikesh Kapoor, the first several years of his life were spent playing piano. Then, an arm injury. He turned to photojournalism at Boston University.
Somewhere along the way, he turned back to music, thankfully. Now his name is spoken in the same sentences as America’s finest folk singers and songwriters, and it’s not hyperbole. Kapoor is a true folk aficionado who has reached far into the musical mists to retrieve the spirit of early Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
He has a great burry, rough quality in his voice and Kapoor writes and sings with true beauty and clarity. His song “Sherene, Don’t Be Alone” is instantly gripping with its somber melody and lyrics about wanting to be with this woman again. Newspress Scare, a 7-inch that he released in 2010, has an acoustic version of the swing song “Mack the Knife,” giving that old standard an unexpected patina.
Kapoor is the winner of a Boston Phoenix Best Music Award, and he performed at Howard Zinn’s memorial service alongside Noam Chomsky. He has toured all over the country and supported several well-known folkies, but he is still working on his debut album in Portland with Adam Selzer, the same producer who helped out M. Ward, The Decemberists and Langhorne Slim. Because he hasn’t recorded much, there’s a dearth of music online by Kapoor, which makes seeing him live all the more precious.
Vikesh Kapoor plays 8:30 pm Thursday, May 30, at Axe & Fiddle; $5.