Monday, November 10, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kyle Carey

It's a hard knock life for us. 'Steada treated, we get tricked! 'Steada kisses, we get kicked! It's the hard-knock life! I'm sorry, I just saw two performances of "Annie" that my nephew was in and that bloody song is stuck on my head. Anyway, how are you? Welcome to another entry of the Phile, kids.  What's going on?  Conservative opponents of Obamacare have recently discovered that the answer to their problem of poor people having health care may lie in four small words in a subsection of the Affordable Care Act. Due to some legal gymnastics that are too boring to go into here, a creative reading of the phrase "established by the State" could, in effect, disqualify the law in 36 states. The argument is somewhat absurd. So, naturally, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear it. Once they've blocked his Attorney General nomination, ended Obamacare and impeached him, GOP will work with the President.  A Montana based wing of the Ku Klux Klan is making history by opening its membership rolls to a number of groups whom the white supremacist terror group has historically worked to subjugate. Blacks and whites, gays and straights, Jews and Christians... they can finally join hands together in the solidarity of absurd, anachronistic notions of hatred and jingoism. Martin Luther King would have been so proud.  Less than a week after midterm elections, presidential hopeful Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker lobbed a thinly-veiled insult at fellow Wisconsinite Sen. Paul Ryan, who is expected to be a strong candidate for the GOP nomination. Declaring to Politico that "governors make much better presidents than members of Congress," Walker dropped the gauntlet and lifted the curtain on the clown show that will be the 2016 presidential election cycle. The worst part about the Paul Ryan/Scott Walker-version of Fight Club is realizing Walker is the Brad Pitt character. Haha.  Just because the Dodo has now been extinct for more than three centuries is no reason for scientists to slow down on finding out everything they can about the flightless bird. Using 3D lasers and computers to intricately study every aspect of Dodo skeletons, researchers have made great strides recently in our understanding of these creatures. This will all come in very handy if one of the odd-looking animals waddles out of the woods one day. I want to start a Kickstarter to bring back the Dodo!  So, you kids like Taylor Swift? I have been saying this for a few weeks now but Disney is gonna re-release all it's classic animated films replacing the princesses with Taylor. Check it out.

So, are you a gluten free diet? If so, check this out...

I'm glad to see businesses finally making options available to everyone's needs.  So, a Phile reader went to a bookstore the other day apparently and saw this...

I guess that would be the next step. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York,  here is this week's...

Top Phive Starbucks' New Delivery Slogans
5. Live in your world. Waste money in ours.
4. Finally, you can drink coffee right in your own home!
3. Providing minimum-wage jobs to guys who got canned from Domino's!
2. Save yourself the one block walk!
And the number one Starbucks' new delivery slogan is...
1. Because you deserve a nice, tepid cup of coffee.

That's fucking disgusting! If you spot the Mindphuck email me, and let me know.

The 29th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Andry "Shango" Rajoelina and this is one of his pieces...

Andry will be a guest on the Phile on Thursday.

Today's Phile Alum guest is the lovely Kyle Carey whose latest CD "North Star" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Kyle Carey.

Me: Hello, Kyle, and welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Kyle: Thanks for having me back, Jason! I've been great, busy but happy to be so.

Me: Last time you were here and think we talked about you speaking different languages. You don't just speak normal languages that people talk... Spanish for example, but Gaelic and an Alaskan language, am I right?

Kyle: I think I spoke a few words of the Yupik Alaskan language when I was little, but my father was the one who really became fluent in it. I spent part of my childhood in Alaska so it wasn't that unusual. I do speak Scottish Gaelic fluently though, which is widely spoken on the western islands of Scotland, as well as in urban areas like Glasgow.

Me: Why and how did you learn those languages, Kyle?

Kyle: My parents were schoolteachers in the Alaskan bush, where Yupik was the native language, and I learned Gaelic on the Isle of Skype in Scotland at a place called Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, which is a four year university where you can get a degree through the medium of the language.

Me: Do you sometimes swear in Gaelic?

Kyle: I don't do anything but swear in Gaelic.

Me: I bet I have readers that don't know what Gaelic is, want to explain it?

Kyle: Gaelic is the native language of Scotland. It's directly descended from Irish Gaelic. Scotland was first settled by Irish people the immigrated from the northern part of their country, thousands of years ago. The language was isolated and developed into something different enough to be classified as another language. There's your history lesson for the day!

Me: Kyle, where are you from, and where do you live now?

Kyle: I was born in New Hampshire, but lived in Alaska until the age of six or so. Then, I spent the rest of my childhood in New Hampshire. Currently I live in Brooklyn, NYC.

Me: You're very old fashioned... that's not an insult. Haha. You lived in an village in Alaska growing up, so I bet you didn't watch a lot of TV. Do you watch TV now?

Kyle: Yeah, I rock the vintage look! I think we did have a TV while in Alaska, actually I remember seeing my dad on it once for a book interview. I don't own a TV, but I'm definitely guilty of whiling away the odd hour on NetFlix.

Me: Is it safe to say you are an outdoors person?

Kyle: I guess somewhat. I look taking walks, swimming, running and horseback riding, but I wouldn't jump at the opportunity to spend a night in a tent. Or a cave for that matter. Maybe a barn. 

Me: Kyle, how long have you been singing and writing music? Pretty much all your life, am I right? 

Kyle: Not at all, I didn't write my first song until I was about eighteen or so, but I knew from then on it was what I was supposed to do.

Me: Your last album "Monongah" was recorded in Ireland... where was your recent CD "North Star" recorded?

Kyle: "North Star" was recorded primarily in Glasgow, Scotland, though we did do a bit of work on it in Philadelphia as well.

Me: I am glad you have an album title I understand, Kyle. Haha. How did that song get to be the album title?

Kyle: I didn't pick "North Star" because I feel like it's the strongest song, or anything like that, but I do like the sound of the phrase. I needed to pick a title that was compelling, conjured nice images, and wasn't too Celtic or too Americana, but sort of in the middle.

Me: You have a lot of people playing on the album. I am guessing they are all friends of yours, am I right?

Kyle: Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, Pauline Scanlon, Katie McNally, Craig Werth, and Gillebride are all friends of mine. The other's are friends of my producer, Seamus Egan, and I've never met 'em in my life! Maybe someday we'll all sit down for a beer.

Me: This album was helped funded through Kickstarter. It seems a lot of musicians I interview recently are going that route. Was that an easy decision for you to make, and did it take awhile?

Kyle: I knew right after I released my first album "Monongah", that I wouldn't be able to make a second album without Kickstarter. It was an easy decision, I just had to put in the ground work after that to build a solid fan base. It definitely took a while to plan the campaign, a good six months at least, but you could even say three years if you want to include the amount of time it took for me to build a mailing list.

Me: Are you glad you did the album that way, Kyle?

Kyle: I'm delighted! I think it meant a lot to my friends and fans to be a part of the process. It's a wonderful feeling to make an album with a community.

Me: You play a lot overseas, so I have to ask, do you prefer to play in Europe or Canada?

Kyle: I think I prefer Europe. I play bigger venues overseas and the entire thing is much more sustainable. Europe and Canada have a much friendlier society and culture when it comes to the arts. Everything in the United States is set up to make leading an artistic life as difficult as possible.

Me: What has been the best show you have played?

Kyle: I'm not sure about the best, but the most memorable was at a nudist festival in West Virginia! It was my first solo gig and talk about baptism by fire.

Me: You played some house concerts, am I right? That always seems dangerous to me. Do you like doing those shows?

Kyle: I love playing house concerts! It's like playing in my own living room... no pun intended, and you get to know your audience personally. On top of that, they don't often take a percentage of the door or sales, so you can do quite well monetarily to play in someone's cozy living room.

Me: I have to ask you about a few songs on the new CD. Is "Casey Jones Whistle Blow" about a train? There's also a Casey Jones in the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" stories as well.

Kyle: "Casey Jones Whistle Blow" is inspired by the song and legend of Casey Jones, the famous train conductor that was killed in an accident. Mississippi John Hurt does a great version of the ballad on one of the Smithsonian recordings. Apparently, Casey Jones had a distinctive whistle blow, so folks always knew when he was passing by. I liked the thought of that, so I decided to write a song, loosely based on the life of Loretta Lynn, with that theme in mind.

Me: Another song is "Nora O'Kane". Was she a real person? Who was she, Kyle?

Kyle: "Nora O' Kane" is inspired by a poem written by the West Virginian Appalachian poet Louise McNeill. Louise's writing has been a wonderful source of inspiration for many of my songs. I'm not sure if she was a real person, but the Nora O' Kane in Louise's poem is a bit more dark, but no less brazen.

Me: And there's a song called "Sios Dhan an Abhainn". Is that Gaelic?

Kyle: Is indeed!

Me: Did you write that song?

Kyle: I wish! "Down to the River" is an American slave hymnal, made popular by Alison Krauss in the film O Brother Where Art Thou.

Me: Do people speak that way anymore, Kyle?

Kyle: You bet! There are Scottish Gaelic speakers all over the world.

Me: I am just jealous as I have problem with English. Hahaha. This year you also released an EP called "Our Morning In May" with some other people. Was that a fun project?

Kyle: It was a great project. I loved worked with Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker and in the process I learned a lot. Plus, it was a good reason to hang out in London!

Me: Not only do you perform and record music, but you teach as well. What do you teach, Kyle?

Kyle: I teach Scottish Gaelic language and song via Skype.

Me: Do you have lots of students?

Kyle: I try to keep me roster pretty small, as I want to give as much personal attention as possible to my students, so I cap it at about eight.

Me: Okay, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What was your most memorable meal ever?

Kyle: Hmmm... well I know I had it more than once, but one of my favorite things to snack on while we lived in Alaska was sticks of dried salmon dipped in gelatinized seal blubber. It was amazing.

Me: Ummm... that sounds disgusting. Kyle, will you be making any videos for the new album?

Kyle: For sure! We've made a beautiful video for the title track, which I'll be launching soon.

Me: Can't wait to see it. Oh, I have to ask, where was the album cover picture taken?

Kyle: All the photography was done in Scotland at a place called Rannoch Moor which is in the highlands. The landscape is stunning and I knew that that was where we needed to illustrate the album. I had the vision in mind for a good long while.

Me: You're braver than I am, I would of fell in that water. You must be a good swimmer, am I right? 

Kyle: I'm not too bad! Though I've never been able to dive. I had an operation on my ear when I was little and I can't submerge myself too deeply in water without getting a lot of pain. So, I cannonball instead. Or belly flop.

Me: Okay, go ahead and mention your website and thanks so much for coming back on the Phile. Please come back again soon, Kyle. Continued success. How do I say that in Gaelic?

Kyle: Thanks again for having me, Jason! Gu math thèid leat, is how you'd say continued success and you can find me at

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Kyle Carey for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with artist Andry "Shango" Rajoelina. Then on Sunday it's Phile Alum Lila Rose and Monday it's the guys from Tapebenders. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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