Last evening, we hosted our fifth Parlor Concert in the loft at Lynden Gallery, the first was with the Reese Brothers, Tom and Kirk, long time friends. Our musical "house concert" venue has been gaining popularity, this BYOB concert the first to sell out beforehand. We limit seats to 35, and encourage concert goers to come a bit early or stay after to eat and drink, mingle with other guests, and partake in a salon style conversation.
I first met Charlie Muench as part of a jazz trio with Chris Smucker and Josh Bailey when they played for Eva Bender's Artist Reception in March of 2011. He has since finished his degree in music education at West Chester University, on the main line in West Chester, Pennsyvania. Bass may be second nature to Charlie, having inherited his love of the instrument from his father. Classically trained, he found bluegrass harmonies compelling, and quickly connected with Maya deVitry and Oliver Craven when their paths crossed in 2010.
"Music exists in a time and place," says Charles, "reveling in the energy of each room, a connection to the audience is the essence of the show." Our parlor space, or "the box"as noted by Charlie, provides the perfect acoustical setting for an intimate exchange between musicians and appreciative audience. This is the first time I took advantage of the second level loft seating, and was surprised to find it the best seat in the house regarding the sound.
After three years of traditional university study, Oliver Claven traded in the books for the open road. "I listen to people... then pay attention to that." Traveling forty states and four countries as a fiddler, guitarist and harmony vocalist, he is developing his own repertoire of original songs. Maya deVitry, a seasoned traveler herself, spent time at University of Asheville, North Carolina, and at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before shoe leather hit the pavement - she made her way across Europe for three months "as a fiddling street performer."
No stranger to musical performance, her family has a deep, rich history of musicianship. Though the deVitrys call Lancaster County home for several generations, the tune in their hearts has wandered afar. Pete deVitry, Maya's dad, spent time with the Gadjo Playboys, a Parisian style string band, and currently plays with Vinegar Creek Constituency a bit of a more eclectic take on American folk music.
Maya's brave and sultry voice rises firmly above the din of a family tradition, soulfully and skillfully weaving tales in the Appalachian genre - some old traditional tunes, others her own. Listen to The Stray Birds first CD, "Birds of the Borderland," and you'd never know five of the seven tunes are contemporary. Such is the consummate nature of Maya's song-writing and her soulful, fervent voice, sitting rock solid on the seasoned musicianship of this accomplished trio.
The Stray Birds will launch their new CD in July, and I for one, can't wait. This young trio has "miles to go" before they sleep and I intend to follow them as shameless groupie.
To find out more about the Lynden Gallery and upcoming exhibitions, concerts and events, visit our website, www.lyndengallery.com. Want to be on our snail mail, or email update lists? Give us a call 717.367.9236, or email us - we'll be happy to share!