Kostas Lazarides grew up hearing music in his head.
He still does.
“I hear things and I can conjure up my orchestra anytime I want to in my heart, in my mind,” he says.
The man born in Thessaloniki, Greece has written more than 3,500 songs, including more than 50 top 10 hits with dozens recorded by artists such as Etta James, Allison Krause, Travis Tritt, Wynona Judd, The Mavericks and Holly Dunn.
A few of his biggest hits include, “I Ain’t That Lonely Yet,” record by Dwight Yoakam, “Blame It on Your Heart” by Patty Lovelace and “I Can Love You Better,” recorded by the Dixie Chicks.
“I’ve always been a musician, I’ve always written something, going back to when I was a kid in the 60s,” he said during an interview with The Garden Island Friday. “I’m still doing what I did then and still enjoying it.”
Which is why, since he was on Kauai visiting friends, they decided to get together, play some music and have some fun. Might as well make it a concert, his first on Kauai.
“I thought, ‘What the hell. I’m here. Let’s play some music,’” he said, smiling.
“We’re only here for a little time, so let’s have a good time. I think it’s a good thing to do, simply because music is an enjoyable thing, and people enjoy what I do,” he said.
Lazarides and friends will perform 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22 at Church of the Pacific. He will be joined by veteran Kauai musicians Will Lydgate on bass guitar, Kirby Keough on lead guitar, Dave Mundy on harmonica and percussion and Michaelle Edwards on back ground vocals.
A proficient guitarist and singer, Lazarides will perform some of his hits and also songs that have never been recorded or heard by more than a few at this upcoming concert on the North Shore. Although many of his hits have been country songs, his styles range from rhythm and blues to indie folk and progressive country. He is known by the singular name “Kostas” and also by “his amazing tenor voice evoking deep soulful emotions when he performs his songs.”
He’s said the concert promises to deliver something special and said folks who attend are “going to hear something that is unique. And good.”
Lazarides was 7 years old when he and his family moved to Montana. When asked what inspires his songs, his answer is short and simple: Life.
“I’ve always been an observer of life, just kind of been a kid who grew up on my own path,” he said. “I didn’t hang around a lot of other kids. I use to sell papers, shine shoes and go fishing in the river. That was me.”
He found time as a young man to think — and write. The first song he sold was a top 10 hit for Patty Loveless called “Timber I’m Falling In Love With You.’ He has co-written songs as well with many artists, including Bob Dylan and Marty Stuart.
He lived in Nashville from 1989 to 2002, and today resides in Bozeman, Mont. He still writes and performs, but is quite at ease with where he’s at in life. He doesn’t sit up nights trying to come up with music or lyrics and seeking the next No. 1 tune. When things are right, all he has to do is listen.
“What’s next for me is to see what’s on the next page. I have no world I’m going to conquer. I’m not here to do that. I am here just to continue to be an observer and hear the music in my heart and to share with people and make good friends along the way,” he said. “That’s basically what I’m here to do. I always have been.”
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Hanalei Surf, Hanalei Strings and things, Harvest Market, Magic Dragon Toys, Healthy Hut, Island Soap Kilauea, North Shore Pharmacy, Kauai Music and Sound, Papayas Natural Foods.