Winter Park’s Kay Irvine: ‘She sings songs you can feel’
August 15, 2008
Kay Irvine’s foot paused anxiously over the damper pedal, her right leg kept the beat through her thoughtful score as she performed a preview for a couple choice friends at her Fraser home last week. It was a practice run for tonight’s show – her first solo performance after years playing as part of various bands.
The humble musician uttered unnecessary apologies for mistakes she had not yet made. Instead, the mistakes never came. Instead, her warm smile and her performance lit up the room.
Irvine has come a long way, from playing flute through high school and unpursued aspirations of Broadway to trying out her vocal chords before large crowds on the local music scene.
Coming to Grand County right out of college in the late 1980s, her trip from her home state of Nebraska extended for decades what was originally to be a short trip “to be a ski bum” before returning to school to pursue a master’s degree in social work.
She had a long history waiting tables before finally accepting a job as a preschool teacher and finding a niche on stage in the county’s music scene ” playing piano for the Episcopal church in Granby for seven years and performing as half of the Kay and Dave duo for five years with Dave Naples, now fun-loving Claddagh frontman whom she first met at one of the local open mic nights.
Irvine looked for a band to sing with and found a good fit when friends told her about an incredible new bassist in town, Andy Irvine, who would become her future husband. She sang with the Andy Irvine Blues Collective group for many years before forming band Juicebox, which also featured Andy, this time on guitar. Other members, from what is described as somewhat of a revolving band door, included Robbie Gonzalez on guitar, Yaniv Salzberg and Warren Ward on bass; and Mike Ray and Gary Birch on drums.
At the beginning of this summer, while on hiatus from Juicebox, Kay got a call to join the music lineup for Cooper Creek Square. It was a good thing she agreed to it then, she said, because she would have ended up changing her mind.
Practicing almost every day for the past three months, she said she’ll have about 22 songs ready for her solo debut. Her repertoire, inspired by some of her earliest influences from Motown and artists like Carole King, consists of “songs people enjoy and don’t hear that much.”
“She sings songs you can feel, as if she wrote them,” said longtime friend and No. 1 fan Suzy “Q.” “She sings songs that spark a memory.”
Three of the songs are originals, “Code Blue” about finding a great guy, “Don’t Say It” about a bad relationship, and touching song “Superman” she wrote especially for Ayden McVeigh, a little boy she taught who died unexpectedly. She will sing that song on stage for the first time today.
Friends and guests in the area are encouraged to come out to show their support of Irvine’s newest musical journey, to hear songs that are sure to touch and entertain.