Darrin Kobetich / Press

“As the band was coming together, Taylor and James struggled to find an available guitar player who could also play banjo until they auditioned Fort Worth’s otherworldly multi-instrumentalist Darrin Kobetich, who can apparently play any stringed instrument. James recalls, “Darrin showed up with a case shaped like a coffin, and I knew he was our guy.””

“A quartet of musicians fill a sizeable corner of the onstage space, led by music director/conductor Steven A. Taylor on piano, with Darrin Kobetich on guitar, Ray Flippen Sr. on bass and Demetrique Henderson on drums. They’re so good that after a few songs, something odd may happen: you’ll get distracted by the band. They’re that spectacular, shifting from one blues style to another with total ease, adding distinctive, sometimes intricate riffs that make good songs better, and the great ones blow us away.”

“Now, with Going Planetary, he may have produced his magnum opus: a cinematic melange of overdubbed ambience in which the ethereal sounds of feedback and bowed guitars bump up against earthy percussion and oud, not to mention some of his most cogent and lyrical electric soloing ever, and even a little surf music, in addition to a palate cleanser of his signature acoustic fretwork. A fascinating departure.”

“Has it been a smooth road? I’ve never known life to be a smooth road. It’s a scary, yet exhilarating feeling to break out on your own, doing what you love for a living. Being laid off from the newspaper was the kick in the ass I needed. It’s still a struggle, with a different set of stresses, but I’ll take this, over having to be in an office every day.”

“His music has always had an Eastern European flavor (Da Kobe digs tritones), and his right hand attack is highly riddimic even without the slapping and tapping. It's a modern approach that sounds like it could be ancient.”

“Balentine’s music, which pulses with blues and rock, was reconstructed (by his brother Bruce), and is played with verve by the foursome of Joe Rogers, Darrin Kobetich, Chris White and Eddie Dunlap.”

“Balentine’s inventive music, reconstructed for this production by his brother Bruce, incorporates funk, folk, R&B, gospel, country-rock, jazz and more. The musicians are led by Joe Rogers (he’s on keyboards, too), known for his work with Simons at Hip Pocket and the late Rudy Eastman at Jubilee Theatre. He and the band (Darrin Kobetich on guitar, Chris White on bass/flute/trumpet, Eddie Dunlap on drums) take the show’s quick-change musical styles in stride.”

“The differences are most noted in the sound of the song, with the experimental and interesting sonic structure of this song.”

“The unusual career of Darrin Kobetich continues apace with his latest album, but it yields some beautiful sights along the way.-- produced by Bart Rose of Fort Worth Sound –– and the results are intermittently gorgeous.”

“We’ve told you about Darrin Kobetich a time or two. I’d been a big fan of him for years before that. You just never know with this guy — one day he’s doing a show by himself playing some Middle Eastern stringed instrument nobody has ever heard of (or can pronounce), and next time he’s playing in his metal band, Hammer Witch. No matter what style the man is torturing out of whatever stringed contraption he happens to have in his hands, you can bet he’s mastered it, and you are going to like it. On Saturday, he was playing Dobro, it was spitting out bluegrass, and the band was Boxcar Bandits.”

“Darrin Kobetich is a masterful player and deserves a much wider recognition than the regional success he currently enjoys. Free is just the musical offering that should expose this artist to a broader audience. The recording is an alluring and assessable collection of original acoustic instrumentals and is highly recommended for all listeners of contemporary music.”

“If you like Leo Kottke or John Fahey, you should be Darrin's biggest fan.”

“His fluid, fervent playing is the common link — Kobetich, as always, excels at conjuring vivid images with nothing more than his fingers plucking guitar strings — and Free unfolds like a pleasing ramble into the great wide open ( Moonlit Country Driveway is particularly breathtaking). A striking sonic postcard.”

“It's his first album recorded in a studio (Fort Worth Sound) with a producer (Bart Rose), and it showcases all of his signature strengths -- flatpicking facility, percussive syncopation, chiming harmonics, and a flair for exotic scales -- in a frame as spacious as the wide open vistas Da Kobe has encountered on his travels.”

“It’s ethereal and beautiful, and given punch by the composer Darrin Kobetich, a singer-songwriter who has been playing with the Hipsters for years, and makes his debut as a writer of musical theater songs for them. Played by Kobetich (guitar), Harris Kirby (mandolin) and Eddie Dunlap (percussion), the music ranges from rock to country to folk to blues, and it’s all quite mesmerizing. There is no list of songs in the program, but my favorite was a bluesy number played by Kobetich on a resonator guitar.”

“And the music: Kobetich’s original score is astonishing, moving from country twang to dig-deep blues to a driving, ecstatic Moroccan beat that carries us along on a wave of exuberance. Kobetich has some fine solo riffs on guitar; and with Harris Kirby’s great mandolin and Eddie Dunlap’s excellent and ever-shifting percussion—he’s a one-man sound studio—they make an onstage trio to remember.”

“Incredible release from Darrin Kobetich..some middle Eastern flavors recorded for the RPM Challenge.”

“Cool to hear Darrin at his most middle eastern influenced. It's a great listen with some priceless titles like, "Namaste You Son Of A Bitch". I even have a song title credit for "A Sense of Impending Doom at the Dentist's Office" ;) https://darrinkobetich.bandcamp.com/…/an-exercise-in-revelry”

“The new album, "An Exercise In Revelry" . . . Bravo! Greatness!”

“The new album, "An Exercise In Revelry" . . . Beautifully legit!!!”

“Coming at the listener like the view of a supernova that has been missed, then ignored through recorded time until with great reluctance the eye comprehends, Kobetich’s impressionist string and ambient sound creation has opened a portal by the end of the first track. What follows is a musical gallery of dramatic statements for the imaginative ear. “joyfully original””

“We found a seat right down in front and watched Kobetich work out his aggressions on an acoustic guitar in a sonically brilliant and physically aggressive manner. His guitar work is phenomenal, and if you haven’t had a chance to go see this guy yet, you must. We even got him to do some Stormtroopers of Death on an acoustic.”

“I recently had the pleasure of jamming with Darrin Kobetich, eclectic wizard of anything-with-strings, something we used to do all the time back in Wreck Room (RIP) daze. Darrin just recorded this album for the RPM Challenge, in which musos write and record an album during the month of February.”

“All four of these guys are formidable bluesmen, with Mack playing rhythm on a washboard, and Kobetich, Hinkle and Christian providing masterful guitar work. Kobetich switched between a regular acoustic and playing slide on a resonator. Mack provided most of the vocals, which is understandable because the man has an amazing, powerful voice. But occasionally Hinkle and Christian took their turn at the mic (I’ve never seen anyone put a mic in front of Kobetich, and I’ve been a fan for years). At one point, the legendary Sumter Bruton — older brother of the late Stephen Bruton — stopped in to lend some T-Bone Walker-style guitar to this mess.”

“My friend Darrin Kobetich will be providing the music for our ears at our wedding. He's a real wierdo and his originals are fantastic. Seek him out.”

“It occurred to me that Dick Dale's aggressive Near Easternism isn't that far of a cry from Darrin's fiery Eastern European mojo, and the beauty of surf music is that you can make anything with a melody into a surf toon, so future Chrome Mags gigs promise to be worth catching.”

“Kobetich, an immensely gifted musician and inventive composer, follows his compelling 2012 LP The Longest Winter with Sidetracked, a record positioned, as its subtitle indicates, as a fictional soundtrack for a nonexistent film. Taking that approach allows Kobetich to stitch together seemingly disparate moods —”

“Overall, Sidetracked is an enjoyable record that goes beyond what one would normally expect from a fingerstyle guitar album. With the numerous stringed instruments, ambient sounds and landscape noises added into the compositions, Kobetich is able to open a new window into the acoustic genre. While his work may be a bit “outside” for traditional listeners, it is worth checking out for fans of acoustic guitar, modern composition and experimental music in general.”

“It’s even more remarkable that just one person was able to put all this together, doing all the instruments – and of course, everything else - entirely on his own. It was a big undertaking, no doubt; but in the end, it all came together perfectly. You can tell Darrin has a lot of natural talent as a musician, and that talent seeps out of the speakers, clearly noticeable.”

“After over a decade of solo performance, Darrin Kobetich has fully integrated all of the aspects of his musical persona -- metalhead, acoustic performer on an ever-widening array of instruments, devotee of folkloric forms, possessor of an experimental mindset -- into a single, seamless entity.”

“Mastered by Britt Robisheaux (The Theater Fire, Drug Mountain, Most Efficient Women) and produced by Kobetich at his home studio, Sidetracked: A Soundtrack for an Imaginary Motion Picture is as sweeping as the title implies. Though Kobetich’s guitar is the focal point, that’s not all there is. From a bubbly intro of colorful vibraphone notes, “Creeper” slinks into a semi-dissonant –– and creepy –– dirge underlined by carnivalesque accordion and yawning sitar. (This is the part in the movie when the hero discovers some unsettling clues.) As vibrant as Sidetracked is, with Kobetich overdubbing all of the non-guitar parts, the album is at its core a strings record. And Kobetich is in fine form, whether sitting back and strumming rocking riffs (“Winging It,” “The August Moon,” “The Man Who Came from Wales”) or leaning over and plucking out pure crystal.”

“Darrin’s guitar work is normally aggressive and percussive, with lots of tapping, slaps and dramatic accents. But paired with Bryan’s electronic wind instrument, things were a bit more subdued, ethereal and introspective. There was a strong improvisational current running through this performance. - STEVE WATKINS / SPECIAL TO DFW.COM”

“In the liner notes for his absorbing new album, guitarist Darrin Kobetich describes the last two years of his life as "a time for reinvention," a period during which he poured himself into the 27 tracks comprising The Longest Winter. He wrote and performed every part himself at his Fort Worth home, often taking advantage of foul winter weather to refine his art. Far from a desolate, forlorn collection conceived in a snowdrift, Winter is, instead, a sparkling showcase for Kobetich's prowess on six strings -- early standout Stuck in Standby flutters and floats on finger-picked fretwork -- and reminds listeners that, sometimes, music without lyrics can speak volumes about a person.”

“Kobetich’s fingerstyle had wrested my attention away from the food. An almost hypnotic display of technical proficiency not just of instrumental acumen, but further an indication of techniques from all over the world. The tunes bear within them a sense of transit, of a journey across a distance. You might notice Middle Eastern sounds, even African or Asian tones; or you could simply allow yourself to be carried away upon the stream of sound he is able to generate.”

“Doc’s is an honest record shop with real records, CDs, posters, and at the back of the room, a small stage and picnic tables. As I walked in, Darrin Kobetich was sitting on the edge of the stage just beating the hell out of a Taylor acoustic guitar. His high energy, slap-and-tap style of guitar playing never disappoints, and I could watch and listen to him play for hours. -By Steve Watkins”

“The Longest Winter is an engaging mind-movie that you can use to warm up the house on cold winter nights. Or approached in sections, there's enough here to provide you with a whole year's worth of discovery and exploration. It's a sound-world that's worth visiting anytime.”

“Darrin Kobetich’s ax was forged in the flames of metal and mellowed around a Kerrville campfire. Today he essays eclectic solo explorations, theatrical accompaniments, and electro-acoustic experiments (the latter in The Panic Basket with Darryl Wood) with equal facility. Bill Pohl’s wide intervallic leaps and nut-to-bridge arpeggios with The Underground Railroad are legendary, but his masterful technique is always held in check by a composer’s sensibility. –– Ken Shimamoto ”

“The title of guitarist Darrin Kobetich’s latest self-released album, The Longest Winter, suggests the musician might be applying his considerable powers of fretwork to the subject of despair. Indeed, a fair number of these 27 instrumental soundscapes –– “songs” is not necessarily an accurate word for this collection –– do find Kobetich using banjos, mandolins, and 12- and six-string guitars to capture a somber, reflective sound. But the bigger surprise is how often he cuts loose amid the ambient picking, plucking, and strumming. The results are sometimes thrilling, never boring, but occasionally frustrating, as Kobetich is often more interested in capturing moods and notions than in crafting full-fledged compositions.”

“Both Darrin Kobetich and Keith Wingate can make you believe they have 20 fingers apiece, but while Kobetich devotes much of his fretwork to melody and music-making, Wingate rips through arpeggios in the tradition of the best straight-ahead jazzbos. In between the rockers and folkies are guitar virtuoso Darrin Kobetich, who brings a quiet aggression to his signature blend of bluegrass with jazz with country with prog-metal. — AM ”

“Sam Bush at Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge - Fort Worth multi-instrumentalist Darrin Kobetich opens.”

“Considering the amount of pretense involved in playing in a band, it's easy for people to get caught up in the bombast, slight even the most talented musicians and forget that what they practice is a craft. It's a disciplined art, which practically demands obsessive devotion. That's exactly why we should be thankful for guitarists like Fort Worth's Darrin Kobetich (myspace.com/darrinkobetich). Understanding that his recently released third album, Songs for a Muse Meant, is the instrumental equivalent to a Ph.D. requires some explanation. While his technical prowess is evident, the approach is sly and subtle. Kobetich's songs never rely on gaudy rock-star posturing to drive them, and don't seek to overwhelm the listener with superfluities.”

“Fort Worth guitarist Darrin Kobetich released his latest opus, The Longest Winter, earlier this year. It's a wild 27-song mix of Middle Eastern, blues and ambient reveries, as Kobetich seamlessly transitions between guitar, banjo, mandolin, djembe, dobro and more.”

“Darrin Kobetich, Songs for a Muse Meant: You can tell Fort Worth's Darrin Kobetich is serious about his craft before hearing a single note of his latest album. In the liner notes, the musician carefully details the exact instruments used to create this batch of 11 wondrously textured soundscapes. Rich with feeling and dense with detail, Kobetich's acoustic, instrumental compositions, such as In the Fort or That Day, conjure humble visions against truly dexterous skill. They are wonderful musical vignettes steeped in subtle pleasures. (www.myspace.com/darrinkobetich)”

“Kobetich’s new, 27-song CD, The Longest Winter is an interesting instrumental listen that spans lots of styles”

“The Fort Worth guitar virtuoso has a new album on the way and sundry projects to boot. Darrin Kobetich and his guitars have been through a lot together over the last 33 years. When he was a howling force in thrash metal bands, commercial success seemed a distinct possibility. Neither Hammer Witch nor the next project, Amillion Pounds, panned out in terms of big record deals, but perhaps things worked out for the best. For the past nine years, Kobetich has focused on what he calls “ambient Delta raga thrash grass” on acoustic guitar. “It’s eclectic,” he said of his instrumental compositions. This year, with the release of Songs for a Muse Meant and a host of other projects, has been his most productive to date. “I’ve never been so content,” he said.”

“Eclectic brew on tap for First Friday”

“Acoustic guitar virtuoso Darrin Kobetich has traveled quite a few miles –– both figuratively and literally –– since he first mixed folk and bluegrass with his metal back in the early aughts as a member of Amillion Pounds. Starting out as a weekly Friday evening happy-hour ritual at the late, lamented Wreck Room, his solo act has become a fixture at Fred’s Texas Café and Hip Pocket Theatre, and he’s toured all over Texas, Colorado, and Louisiana. His playing has evolved as well. Proceeding from a foundation of Zep III-era Jimmy Page, 6 & 12 String Guitar-era Leo Kottke, and Breakfast in the Field-era Michael Hedges, he has incorporated more ragtime and old-timey influences to his blend of breakdowns, blues, and raga.”

“A veteran thrash metal guitarist of both the Fort Worth and Dallas scenes, Kobetich decided three years ago to concentrate on his original acoustic instrumental work whose influences range as far as Celtic and Appalachian to Turkish and Moroccan.”

“Here’s the first recorded result of a collaboration between electronics wizard Darryl Wood (ex-Confusatron and ex-Parasite Lost) and Darrin Kobetich, solo acoustic guitar virtuoso who’s jammed bluegrass with the Blackland River Devils and Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang and metal with Amillion Pounds and Hammer Witch. lup_1 The Panic Basket, Hard Bread (Self-released) Although Kobetich used to break out his Les Paul and Marshall amp at the old Wreck Room Wednesday night jams, it’s a stunning surprise to hear him playing electric guitar on disc for the first time in years. On “Tin,” the guitarist sounds tentative, overlaying simple bluesy lines, as though he and his collaborator are feeling each other out, getting musically acquainted. By the time “Last Night” rolls around, a couple of tracks later, he’s blending more naturally with Wood’s sampled, processed groove, and he interweaves sinuous lines”

"...the eclectic axe-slinger may have painted his masterpiece...there are all kinds of ways of tapping into the sources of creativity. It sounds as though Darrin was tapped deep into those sources..."

“Abbey's speeches are supported by a single musician, Darrin Kobetich, who plays the score he composed on various stringed instruments throughout both acts (this is a rare two-act show for Hip Pocket). His musical accents fall so precisely and blend with the text so thoroughly that his support becomes invisible, in the most positive of ways.”

“Adding another layer is an original score, composed and played onstage by Darrin Kobetich, using guitar, banjo and a host of percussion and wind instruments to underscore and create sound effects. During a scene at a yoga session, the banjo mimics a sitar. In the section where Abbey comments on different people, personalities and professions by the type of poots they emit, Kobetich has a special instrument to humorously make the noise of the greatest fart of all: God's.”

"It's hard to classify Kobetich's music. It's a fusion of styles, from Eastern, Delta blues, bluegrass and even vintage rock. He started off the show with some acoustic slide, faster and more energetic than traditional blues slide playing but the feel was still there. His songs are purely instrumental and delivered with little stage banter or theatrics -- frankly, he doesn't need it." "I kind of tune everything out." Kobetich said. Kobetich employed both six- and 12-string acoustics in his act, and freely switched between slide, standard fingering and Michael Hedges style slap guitar. Aside from Steel Guitar Rag, a Bob Wills tune, everything Kobetich did on stage was original and was inspired by real-life experiences such as breaking down on the highway, getting stuck in an airport and falling in love. Even though there are no words, emotion and passion flow through his music."

“darrin's a really disciplined player, but his technique never gets in the way of the human sound in his music (whether he's playing solo acoustic, bluegrass, or metal) -- no matter what the subject of the day is, he leaves a lot of blood on the strings.”

“This is a particularly impressive feat, considering that almost every song I have heard is all instrumental. Some songs sound like what Nick Drake would have sounded like if he had been born in Texas, while other tracks have a stronger Eastern and Indian influence.”

“containing elements of bluegrass, raga, flamenco, and near eastern musics. once when i walked in on him and percussionist mike padilla in full flight after listening to the world saxophone quartet in the car, some of his chords sounded like horn hits to me,”

" If you ask a fan what kind of music he plays, they will have a hard time answering you. To some it is folk, to some it is bluegrass but with a twist, to some it is acoustic rock and roll. No matter how you define it, it is hypnotic, entrancing, deliciously wicked..."