Folk musicians Kyle Carey and Craig Werth had only known each other for two weeks when they jumped in a car and embarked on a 6,000-mile road trip through Canada.
“It’s pretty amazing when you’ve just met someone,” Werth said. “We just worked really hard to be great communicators and collaborators.”
The duo did a series of “house concerts” across Canada before returning to the States.
They met in August in New Hampshire, Werth’s home state, and soon decided to tour. The tour was such a success they decided to perform on the West Coast.
Carey and Werth form a dynamic duo that specializes in “Gaelic Americana” folk music.
They are performing at 5 this evening at Charley’s BBQ, 812 W. Harvard Ave.
Werth has been touring for more than 10 years, mostly throughout North America and Australia. He said he was immediately intrigued by Carey’s musical style.
“I loved her songs and how she presented them, and that’s what coaxed me back on the road,” he said. “I started as a fan, and we quickly became friends.”
Carey described her music as “a mix of Scottish and Irish and Cape music with American Appalachian and folk music.” Many of her songs are from the American Folk Anthology. She learned to speak Gaelic after studying in Ireland in college and sings many of her original songs in the language.
Werth is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who focuses primarily on New England style folk. He said he has roots in the Canadian Maritime region and is influenced by contemporary and traditional folk.
He said the two performers usually alternate songs throughout the show or sing four to five songs each and alternate sets.
“We’ve worked hard to turn each of our solo efforts in writing to complete each other,” Werth said. “I do a lot of instrumental accompaniment for her songs, and she adds instrumental support and vocal harmony for my songs.”
Werth has been writing songs since he was a teenager and started performing in his early 20s. He practiced his music and wrote in his spare time while always working a full-time job in social services or education.
“I was coaxed out of the comfort of a day job and a retirement plan and started touring full time,” he said.
He said he has always been interested in telling stories through his music.
A passion for music was instilled in Carey at a young age. She grew up listening to American folk music and rediscovered her love of it in college. She encountered Celtic music for the first time when she traveled to Ireland when she was in college.
She said she fell in love with the language and culture.
“I love to teach the language. I also feel like I’m helping keep Gaelic alive,” she said. “It is definitely endangered. It’s important that people keep it alive for the music and hopefully keep learning it.”
She had a Fulbright scholarship to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, after college, and went on to study Gaelic in Scotland.
Carey said she and Werth’s different styles go well together.
“My writing tends to be darker. It is inherently a dark genre,” she said. “His songs are lighthearted and funny. It makes for a balanced show.”
Carey plays the guitar, ukulele and shruti box, an Indian instrument similar to a bagpipe. Werth plays the guitar and ukulele.
“What I love about it is, it’s different. We bring different perspectives and different life experience that’s quite diverse,” he said. “We both have some great passion for respect and tradition for the music.”
Both artists have released solo CDs and are contemplating releasing a CD together.
Carey said Celtic folk music is a relatively small market, but she hopes she can build up a loyal fan base.
After Roseburg, the duo will head to Santa Cruz, Calif., to perform at the Monterey Bay Celtic Music Society.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love to teach the language. I also feel like I’m helping keep Gaelic alive.