Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
Feb. 27, 2013
Nathaniel Talbot is the real deal.
A gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist with chops flying out of his finger-picking fingers, he’s also a local organic farmer with a big heart and a knack for telling a story. He’s got an A-list band and he’s got a date at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts this Saturday night, March 2, to celebrate the release of the Nathaniel Talbot Quartet’s new CD, “Here in the Fields.” You should be there.
Talbot has been a musician most of his life, and until recently was busy playing music with three bands in Portland. But a little over two years ago, he found that the itch he needed to scratch was learning to grow food. He and girlfriend Annie Jesperson headed to Whidbey Island and Greenbank Farm’s agricultural training program. Now the two are farming three acres and offering a wintertime CSA program, and loving the island.
Talbot mistakenly thought that learning to farm would bring an end to his musical life, but on the contrary, it has inspired him to write some of his most lyrically challenging music to date. “Lyrics used to be secondary for me, a way to convey a melody,” Talbot said.
“Since coming to Whidbey, lyrics have become more of the focus of my songwriting. I am inspired by the agricultural landscape and the interesting characters interacting with it.”
With his James Taylor-esque voice and his finger-style of guitar playing, Talbot is a strong solo performer. Add his band — Portland-based professionals Anne Tivel on violin, Sam Howard on stand-up bass and Russ Kleiner on percussion — and Talbot’s songs take on a lush quality, emoting melancholy one minute and joy the next. Tivel’s violin is particularly haunting, and the rhythm section supports the whole with subtlety and finesse. Tivel and Howard also add vocal harmonies to the tapestry and the result is what Talbot calls “Chamber Folk.”
“The songs on ‘Here in the Fields’ are all tunes that came from my experiences these last two years on Whidbey,” Talbot said.
Come out to WICA for the show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2 and hear for yourself what the talented Mr. Talbot has to say. And, if his produce is as tasty as his musical offerings, signing up for his CSA is a no-brainer, as well.
Tickets are $12 and are available at the box office at (360)-221-8268 or (800) 638-7631, or buy them online at www.WICAonline.com.
WICA is located at 565 Camano Ave. in Langley.
For more information about Talbot and to purchase CDs visit here.
For information about Talbot’s CSA program visit Deep Harvest Farm.
Penny Webb is a writer, musician, and mom. She is currently working on her kids’ science projects and getting ready for the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat in March.