Ken Palmquist – Focus on Local Artists – Issue #20

December 2013

Ken PalmquistFor the month of December, Winnipeg River Arts Council features musician Ken Palmquist who grew up on the north shore of Powerview in the Cheverfils District. When he was five, he got a plastic toy guitar for Christmas. And he has never stopped playing!

His desire to play was fueled at parties with local musicians, including many uncles and aunts. Soon he could play lead guitar. He had a natural ability to harmonize and honed his singing skill with the help of his mother Jean, who used to win many talent contests and even cut a 78 record in the 50’s.

In high school, with his musical confidence firmly established, he started to play at talent shows all over Manitoba. Palmquist said, “I just enjoyed the thrill of entertaining and competing!”

Ken PalmquistAt sixteen, he entered a competition with his Uncle Frank on the “Ray St. Germain Country Talent Caravan” and won. After that, he went on to perform with many bands, playing everything from Gospel, country and bluegrass to rock and roll and heavy metal. In his home studio, he recorded three original songs which made it onto the radio.

Presently, Palmquist plays all the different styles and categories of music he loved as a young man and also enjoys blues and jazz. He admitted, “I am now close to being a pensioner, but I still love to play anything pleasing to the ears.”

He has performed at the 4P festival on three different occasions with different friends and family, and he hopes to do again. His dream is to play on cruise ships in warmer climes when he gives up his day job. His wife Jo has always supported his endeavors so it may happen.

Palmquist started building guitars and finished his first one this summer. He plans to continue construction and repair of guitars, and hopes to give lessons in the future.

His family has carried on the musical legacy. Daughter Tamara is an up-and-coming songwriter and grandson Chance loves guitar. Son Myles, accomplished guitarist and singer, is working on his second album. Palmquist said, “They all make me very proud!”