After spending much of her life on the road in one form or another, it's no surprise that Kris Schultz likes to take the scenic route. And that is exactly how she made her way to writing, playing and singing songs.
Growing up in Topeka, Kansas, she was obsessed at an early age with the songs on the jukebox at a bar she visited regularly with her parents. The blend of classic country and 70s and early 80s singer/songwriter tunes gave her a deep love for sad songs about heartbreak and loss.
At an early age, she showed promise in several sports, and by mid-childhood it was obvious Track & Field (specifically the "field"part) was her niche. Soon, she was criss-crossing the country in a tiny car with her mother and twin sister, competing in track meets, adopting accents and falling in love with the cities, towns, highways and roadside stops she would daydream about when back in Topeka.
Accepting a scholarship to throw Javelin at Kansas State University, she officially majored in Journalism. But she likes to think her daily visits to the local record store could be considered a double major in Music Appreciation. It was there she dove further into the music of singer-songwriters, new and old.
While competing in the Texas Relays during her college career, she had fallen in love with the city of Austin, TX. Soon, she had moved there with only a box of books & CDs, a small stereo, and a bag of clothes. She walked into the city-ran Austin Music Network TV channel, asked for an internship, and soon she was spending her days proof-checking videos of local music and taking in every note. But she still hadn't thought of playing music herself.
The next few years were spent assisting musicians on the road and at home in Austin. She did whatever was needed - selling merch, driving, road managing, lugging gear. She traveled throughout Texas, the Midwest, the Northeast and Canada with the likes of Kacy Crowley, Future Clouds and Radar, Davíd Garza, Goudie and Guy Forsyth, and worked for Jon Dee Graham and others back home in Austin. Through it all, she absorbed the live performances of these talented artists, but it still never crossed her mind to give it a try herself.
After a years-long break from her non-musical role in the Austin music world to start a pet care business with her sister, in the spring of 2017 she acquired a guitar, and, on a whim, called on her longtime friend Kacy Crowley to help find out if she could sing. Armed with 3 chords she had learned 16 years before, but had never had the chance to practice, she played her first attempt at a song for Kacy. Surprised when told she was not tone deaf, as she had assumed, she quickly became hooked on writing songs. Within a month, she played her first open mic at the legendary Cactus Cafe. Within six months, she was playing her first hour-long set of original songs.
The Irie Bean Coffee Bar in South Austin has become a home base, with a Second Sunday Song Swap residency.
She will be hitting the road with her friend Andrew Savage in December 2018, so look for them in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. And upon returning, she will be playing at The Townsend in downtown Austin with her friend Megan Lacy on December 12.