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Category Archives: music

Lots of terrific music comes through the Methow Valley. This weekend is the Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival. Next week is the start of the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. Last night we got to see Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, a pair of uniquely gifted musicians from Nashville. According to their website, “Rob Ickes is a longtime, well-established instrumental giant, and Trey Hensley is newly arrived in Music City, bursting with talent both as a vocalist and guitarist. They are in town for the Blues Fest and the Methow Valley Ciderhouse hosted them for two hours. What a treat for folks that don’t get to go to the festival.

My husband, Ken is a singer and songwriter, specializing in folk songs that tell stories, some of them close to his heart and many of them about the nature of this place we call home. He has been working for the last year and a half with Chris ‘Breathe’ Frue to produce a CD of his original songs. Many of Ken’s musician friends joined him in Breathe’s studio to lay down tracks to go with his guitar and vocals and finally, it is finished.

Wanderer’s Moon was released at a concert at the Merc Playhouse last night to one hundred happy fans and listeners! Six of the performers who are featured on the CD were able to join Ken and the show was outstanding! This is a once in lifetime event because getting this many busy people together in one place is always a challenge. The other performers last night were John Weeks, of Chicago on violin and viola, Bill Weiler, of Lyle, WA on the keyboards, Egon Steinebach, of Twisp on harmonica, Julie Ashmore from the Okanogan Highlands on vocals, Don McIvor, of Twisp on guitar and Richard Wassen, of Winthrop on drums. It was a fun evening full of music and celebration. Don Ashford, owner of KTRT radio in Twisp and Winthrop introduced the program. Breathe did the sound. Thank you Don, Breathe and everyone else who helped to make this evening a success!

If you’d like to get a CD, contact me and I will will tell  you how to get it!



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When I first thought about where I’d like to live, the Methow Valley was high on my list for two things – the terrific outdoor recreation possibilities (hiking, skiing, etc) and the arts. This area has a large number of creative people and it also supports the arts pretty remarkably for such a rural location. Last night we had the good fortune to experience a wonderful musical act – Cahalen and Eli in the Spartan Art Project which is currently located at TwispWorks. How can I begin to describe all of this? Let’s see – TwispWorks is housed in a former US Forest Service complex that was surplused by the federal government and put out for auction. A group of civic minded folks decided it could be a great incubator to support arts and small businesses in our valley and they raised enough money ($1 million dollars!) to buy it and then they had to start refurbishing the old buildings. Now it is home to art studios, classrooms, a natural history center, teen center and more! The Spartan Art Project is a 1951 travel trailer transformed into a gallery space supporting artists both local and from far away. It is the brainchild of three local artists. Last night Donna Keyser’s studio on the TwispWorks campus hosted a reception for the musicians and the audience.

Cahalen and Eli are two fine acoustic musicians based in Seattle. In the last week they have been featured on NPR and Folk Alley and probably other media outlets as well. They write many of their own songs and play mandolins, banjo and guitar and their harmonies are wonderful We were lucky to have such a talented duo in our tiny town of Twisp. One of the ways that the Spartan Art Project supports artists is with their ‘Intimate Performances’. This is the third one. As you might imagine, an old travel trailer does not seat too many people. However, the acoustics are wonderful and the chance to see these men performing up close was particularly entertaining. We reserved two seats so we could be up close and personal with the show.

The Merc Playhouse in Twisp hosts an open mic from time to time. It’s a great opportunity for musicians to perform in a professional setting with great acoustics and good lighting and also a comfortable audience. The Merc underwent a remodel last year and while I thought it was good before, it’s even better now. There is more seating and the acoustics have been improved. If you are nearby, I highly suggest that you take it in as a participant or an audience member.



Finish with a flourish






Gudron’s music is cued up




Ken loves performing at the Merc




What key?


Oh, that one





Steve did a heartfelt version of Christmas in the Trenches



I did not catch this young man’s name. He did some original works.


What a fun show! Laura Love’s voice always brings people to their feet. I can remember the first time I saw her – at Telluride in 1997. How long ago is that? I still love to listen to her sing and play bass. Last night she played with Orville Johnson on guitar and Chris Leighton on drums. Orville’s guitar playing and singing are really outstanding and the three of them have formed a tight trio. The area was soon cleared in front of the stage and dancers crowded the dance floor.




More about Laura here.

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