For decades, Ken has delighted audiences with his own style of folk, blues, rock and jazz. From intimate house parties and coffeehouses to college concerts and outdoor festivals, Ken's warm voice and acoustic guitars create a unique space with great songs and a warm vibe. He connects with his audiences and as one person said... "We feel like we're listening to an old friend in our living room."
Ken can perform as a solo guitarist/vocalist, as a duo with a violinist or with his 5 pc swinging ensemble. His extensive repertoire ranges from Cole Porter and George Gershwin to the Beatles and Sting... always expect fun musical event.
We hired Ken for a backyard bbq retirement party. While all the guests mingled and caught up, Ken provided excellent music and created an excellent atmosphere for the party.
So easy to work with! Great sound
4 Star Review
outstanding and great to work with
Great band, great music - can’t say enough about how happy we were!! Definitely will hire again.
Response from Ken Slauf:
Thank you Lorraine. What a wonderful event and cause you support. We had such a great time with all your guests!
Ken played for our first two Psychic Happy Hours at the Westin Chicago Northwest in 400 Park Bistro. He engaged with the crowd and has an outstanding selection of songs.
Ken was the highlight of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. We sipped drinks, sang along, and laughed so much with Ken's fantastic stories and observations. Ken shared that playing guitar is, "not what I do, but who I am." Everyone at the party agreed and marveled at his talent. Ken is such a warm person - each of us connected with him and his music. Thank you, Ken, for a perfect evening.
Ken was polite, professional, flexible, and stellar. His quartet played for 2 hours and really transformed our party to a level of elegance that far exceeded my expectations. I am a musician myself- and I give him and his players full marks!
Response from Ken Slauf:
Many thanks to Leah & James for having us as part of their anniversary celebration. Leah had requested that we perform some of her favorite jazz standards in a gypsy style. They were incredibly gracious and the evening was a treat for us also, as we once again are able to perform LIVE! Wishing them many, many more years of happiness!!!
Ken was great!! Everybody enjoyed his music!! I would definitely recommend him.
We were lucky enough to have Ken perform for us during a small party that we hosted at our home. He added so much richness so our event, we all had a wonderful time!
Response from Ken Slauf:
I had a blast with Megan & Lou's birthday party. Being in their home made it all intimate and allowed exchange with the guests to also talk about songs, artists and music brides just play. Thx for the fun opportunity!
Ken was exceptional to work with and made our event so enjoyable! The booking process was very easy and Ken was open to all requests. I hosted an outdoor small gathering of friends and Ken made our night so fun! He was engaging, talented on the guitar/singing and took all song requests on the fly. Will be excited to work with him again!
Ken did such a great job entertaining our anniversary party! His brand of easy listening singing and guitar were perfect for our event. Looking forward to hearing him again.
Ken did a great job singing songs at my mother's funeral service. He even went the extra mile to call our Reverend to arrange where the songs would be fit into the service and offered to sing a song graveside as well. We are so grateful to have found him and he sounded great was so nice. Everyone complimented me on how nice it was to hear him sing the Elvis songs my mom loved so much. I am sure my mom was smiling from above. I would definitely recommend him! Thank-you Ken
I attended a funeral where Ken Played both at the church and graveside and he was spectacular. His songs were so right on the mark and what a comfort to all that attended. I would heartily recommend Ken for ANY event. Great stuff for sure.
What to Expect
I tailor my set list to meet the audience and event. When it comes to popular music of the last 50's through the late 60's, the running joke is that I'm the human jukebox. As you can see from my song list, I cover all the popular performers of that era including the classic rock songs from the Beatles and the Stones to singer-songwriters like James Taylor, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Buffett. I've even been known to throw in an Elvis tune or two. As a life-long Chicagoan, and former Old Town School of Folk Music staffer, my repertoire also can feature traditional folk songs, as well as those from songwriter icons Steve Goodman and John Prine.
You will find me professional, easy to work with and a lot of fun during the performance. If there are special songs for weddings, anniversaries or birthdays, I am happy to learn and include some songs that have special meaning.
For larger events or weddings, my band Crazy Wisdom can include duo, trio with keyboards, sax & violin... all the way up to a full 12 piece band covering jazz standards, old school R&B and classic rock. Contact me for details. Audio samples of all these great ensembles are on this site.
As a solo musician on vocal & guitar, I draw from his vast and diverse repertoire of popular music from 1920s to current artists. It includes 50s and 60s rock, singer-songwriters, folk, jazz standards and blues.
I also perform as a duo with a violinist or expand to include up to a fie piece jazz group that specializes in Tin Pan Alley jazz.
Like many of us , I was grabbed in the late 50s and early 60s. Starting at age 13 as a rock drummer, I performed in well known Chicago area bands such as Saturday Review, Fire and Grope, featured as an opening act for the likes of Shadows of Night, Mitch Ryder, Mauds and The Flock.
During college, I started playing acoustic guitar and for several years toured the national coffee house circuit as half of the folk duo, Winter Wheat, with long time friend Steve Dykema. Together we performed on stage with Jimmy Buffet, Sonny & Brownie and James Lee Stanley. During grad school, I was asked to join the old-timey string band, Ragged But Right and spent a summer touring as an opening act for the Oak Ridge Boys and Dr. Ralph Stanley.
Returning to Chicago, I taught and studied at the fabled Old Town School of Folk Music where I returned as drummer for the Old Town Jazz Ensemble that featured now renowned guitarist Muriel Anderson, performing at various Chicago summer festivals, playing the national anthem old Comiskey Park and backing-up Merle Travis, prior to his retirement. During my stint at OTS, I had the privilege
to become drummer for the legendary mandolinist/humorist Jethro Burns in a band that often included Steve Goodman.
Currently I perform through out Chicago at restaurants, festivals, fund raisers, schools, Senior Events and other benefits either as a solo, an acoustic "Americana" trio, The Rusken Bros. or with my 5 piece jazz standards group Nite Hawks. Feel free to contact me if any of these other combinations are of interest to you.
Additional Booking Notes
I travel with a compact, PA system and lights requiring only a single outlet. It will accommodate events up to 250 people, yet be quiet enough for an intimate venue.
Past Booked Events
|September 21, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|September 09, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|September 04, 2022 • 4:00pm - 8:00pm||Corporate Event|
|August 27, 2022 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm||Wedding Engagement|
|August 24, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|August 10, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|July 27, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|July 13, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|July 04, 2022 • 5:00pm - 7:00pm||Wedding Reception|
|June 29, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|June 15, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|June 01, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|May 18, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|May 08, 2022 • 7:00pm - 9:00pm||Cocktail Party|
|May 04, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|April 20, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|April 06, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|March 23, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|March 09, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|February 23, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|February 09, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|January 26, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|January 12, 2022 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|December 29, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|December 15, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|December 01, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|November 03, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|October 16, 2021 • 1:00pm - 3:30pm||Festival|
|October 13, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|September 22, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|September 10, 2021 • 5:30pm - 8:30pm||Fundraiser|
|September 08, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Cocktail Party|
|September 04, 2021–September 05, 2021 • 9:00pm - 12:00am||Birthday Party|
|August 04, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Corporate Event|
|July 28, 2021 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm||Corporate Event|
|July 08, 2021 • 6:30pm - 7:30pm||Anniversary Party|
|June 05, 2021 • 7:30pm - 9:30pm||Anniversary Party|
|May 29, 2021 • 6:00pm - 10:00pm||Graduation|
|May 15, 2021 • 4:00pm - 6:00pm||Birthday Party|
|October 01, 2020 • 8:30pm - 10:00pm||Dinner Party|
|October 12, 2019 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm||Dinner Party|
|June 01, 2019 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm||Birthday Party|
|September 13, 2018 • 3:30pm - 6:00pm||Cocktail Party|
|September 24, 2016||Anniversary Party|
|August 28, 2015||Holiday Party (Other)|
|June 13, 2015||Birthday (Adult)|
|December 13, 2014||Funeral Service|
I try to tailor a set list that best meets the needs of the event. Typically my selection will include favorites from the 50's through the 90's singer-songwriters and popular rock acts including:
Windows Are Rolled Down - Amos Lee
The Weight - Band
Hard Days Night - Beatles
Yes It Is - Beatles
She Loves You - Beatles
Can't Do That - Beatles
Here Comes The Sun - Beatles
Hide Your Love Away - Beatles
Honey Don't - Beatles
I Need You - Beatles
I'll Cry Instead - Beatles
Norwegian Wood - Beatles
You Won't See Me - Beatles
Love Somebody - BeeGees
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You - Bob Dylan
Lay Lady Lay - Bob Dylan
One Love - Bob Marley
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
I Fought The Law - Bobby Fuller Four
Hey Baby - Bruce Channel
Everyday - Buddy Holly
Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly
Wild World - Cat Stevens
Here Comes My Baby - Cat Stevens
Love Potion #9 - Clovers
Marrakesh Express - Crosby, Stills & Nash
Please Come To Boston - Dave Loggins
Under The Boardwalk - Drifters
Don't Get Around Much - Duke Ellington
Take It Easy - Eagles
Peaceful, Easy Feeling - Eagles
Little Sister - Elvis
All I Have To Do is Dream - Everly Bros.
Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
It Was A Very Good Year - Frank Sinatra
Sea Cruise - Frankie Ford
My Blue Heaven - Gene Austin
Don't Let The Sun - Gerry and the Pacemakers
If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot
Beautiful - Gordon Lightfoot
Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
Softly - Gordon Lightfoot
I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits
Take It Easy - Jackson Browne
Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne
Fire & Rain - James Taylor
Country Roads - James Taylor
Carolina In My Mind - James Taylor
Something In The Way She Moves - James Taylor
Come A Little Bit Closer - Jay & the Americans
Come Monday - Jimmy Buffett
Havana Daydreamin' - Jimmy Buffett
Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett
Pencil Thin Mustache - Jimmy Buffett
Pirate Looks At 40 - Jimmy Buffett
Wichita Lineman - Jimmy Web
Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home - Joe South
Down In The Boondocks - Joe South
Games People Play - Joe South
Angel From Montgomery - John Prine
Secret Agent - Johnny Rivers
Sunshine - Jonathan Edwards
Midnite Special - Ledbelly
Danny's Song - Loggins & Messina
House At Pooh Corner - Loggins & Messina
What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
California Dreamin' - Mamas & Papas
Walking In Mamphis - Marc Cohen
Got My Mojo Workin' - Muddy Waters
Tobacco Road - Nashville Teens
Rte 66 - Nat King Cole
Kentucky Woman - Neil Diamond
Solitary Man - Neil Diamond
Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
Groovin' - Rascals
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
Waitin' On A Friend - Rolling Stones
Last Time - Rolling Stones
Wild Horses - Rolling Stones
Cupid - Sam Cooke
Bring It On Home - Sam Cooke
Twisting The Nite Away - Sam Cooke
You Send Me - Sam Cooke
Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts
The Dutchman - Steve Goodman
City Of New Orleans - Steve Goodman
Somebody Ele's Troubles - Steve Goodman
Door Number Three - Steve Goodman
Every Breath You Take - Sting
Fragile - Sting
16 Tons - Tennesee Ernie Ford
Waltzing Matilda - Traditional
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Crazy Love - Van Morrison
Into The Mystic - Van Morrison
Moondance - Van Morrison
Wild Nites - Van Morrison
Influences & Inspiration
My influences range from early jazz standards from Cole Porter, Fats Waller & Jelly Roll Morton to the great bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Ray Charles through contemporary songwriters like Jimmy Webb, Lennon/McCartney, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello. I was raised on rock, folk, blues and jazz and a little bit of all those style are incorporated in my singing and guitar playing.
I require approx a 6' X 4" area and one standard outlet.