This article on Kevin Conner, written by Sharon Drahn, appeared in the Wednesday, July 19, 2023, edition of the UNION Echo Leader newspaper — permission to reprint courtesy of Mike Van Sickle, editor of FAYETTE COUNTY NEWSPAPERS.

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Former Memory Brothers member releases new CD

By SHARON DRAHN
Contributing Writer

Kevin Conner, who recently released his new CD, When April Comes, has been involved in music since he was a toddler in the 1950s.

“My mother always told the story that when she put me to bed at night, I would stand behind the door and sing or hum with the TV even before I could talk,” Conner reminisced. “As a young boy I sang in church, elementary school and junior and senior high school. Like a typical teenager in the ’70s, I was all about rock and roll. Several buddie and I formed a rock band, Muddy Water II, and we played at area events for a couple of years.”

Following graduation from North High School, the West Union native continued his education at Luther College and although his major was American Studies, music was a large part of his college experience.

“I sang in the freshmen choir and was part of the madrigal, Lerka,” he said. “It was also during my college years that I sang at coffee houses as a solo act. My only accompaniment was my guitar.”

Originally hoping to work for a year before earning a master’s degree in either English or history, Kevin’s plans changed after a single phone call.

“I was working in Rochester when I got a phone call from Doug (Koempel) at 4 a.m. asking me if I would like to go on the road with him,” he explained. “Doug and his partner, Larry (Crandall), were on the road full time and Larry was ready to give up the traveling lifestyle. I immediately said yes and became the second member of the Memory Brothers.”

Conner and Koempel toured as the Memory Brothers throughout the Midwest for 14 years, including 10 weeks Monday through Saturday each summer at Lake Okoboji. As the Memory Brothers, the duo recorded several CDs together in Koempel’s recording studio at his West Union home.

Even after he quit traveling with the Memory Brothers, Conner occasionally played with Koempel in the early ’90s and the two have remained close friends throughout the years. The Memory Brothers were inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2013 and Midwest All Music Association Hall of Fame in 2019.

Having married and lived in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area since 1991, the father of three adult children retired after a 26-year career at TransAmerica, yet he continues his love of music.

When April Comes came to fruition, songs I had written many years ago when I was in high school were recently brought to my attention,” Conner said. “Many of the lyrics were written when I had a crush on a girl 50 years ago; and after changing the lyrics a bit, I set them to music.

Kevin Conner has released his newest CD, "When April Comes." The CD came to fruition after songs he had written when he attended then North High School. The West Union native was previously inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Music Association Hall of Fame and Midwest All Music Association Hall of Fame as a member of the Memory Brothers. (Courtesy photo)

“Doug, along with being a very close friend, is a wonderful musician and recording engineer and producer,” he continued. “Recording the songs in his studio worked out perfectly. Mark Haines contributed the lyrics for two of the songs on the CD. He is an excellent lyricist as he is so good with painting a picture with words.”

The When April Comes song selection highlights several genres including folk, rock and roll and ballads. In addition to being available on digital music services, When April Comes may be purchased at memorybrothers.com.

For more info regarding (or to order) Kevin Conner’s When April Comes album, click here.

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(below original scanned article from newspaper)