What is your name and role within The Page Turners?
JH: My name is Jake Howard and I am the mandolinist/guitarist/singer of the Page Turners.
CK: My name is Carolyn Kendrick and I am the fiddler/guitarist/singer of the Page Turners.
How did you start?
JH: We both met at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. We had a masterclass with Jason Anick (jazz violinist and mandolinist) and that’s how we really got to know each other. It was when we were both in school, that we decided being in a band together would be awesome, as we share similar tastes in music. Our first gig was at the Grey Fox Bluegrass festival
CK: I was also friends with some of the folks in Jake’s other project, Wrong is Right, and we got to spend some time together when I went to some of their gigs.
Where are you based?
JH: We are currently based in Boston, MA (USA) but as of October of 2017 we will be moving to Austin, TX! We will miss the people we have met in the Northeast but we are excited for the change of scenery.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
CK: I write most of my songs on guitar and piano, and most fiddle tunes on the fiddle (makes sense). A lot of times I’ll come up with a little snippet of something I like, either a lyric, chord progression, or melody and then I’ll work it out over the course of a couple weeks in chunks. Jake tends to write songs in one sitting, while I like trying lots of possibilities and doing lots of edits, which I think leads to a nice balance between both of us.
What are you working on right now?
CK: Right now, we’re working up arrangements for new songs as they’re written. We’re looking to record a new album in 2018, and we’re definitely looking forward to that process. Our main priority right now though is playing as many gigs as possible, getting our name out there and having fun while doing it.
What is your gear setup?
JH: We try and travel light, which means we bring the mandolin, fiddle, and guitar and not much else. I’m playing a mandolin made by Gerald Anderson right now. He is a guy based out of Troutdale, VA who I’ve been fortunate enough to become friend’s with since i bought one of his mandolins in 2012. The mandolin was built in 1981 and is the 3rd one that he made, which to me is pretty cool. I have a deep connection with the mandolin, it brings my best musical ideas to life! The guitar that Carolyn and I play is one that my dad and I built in 2013, a month before I went of the college. It is near and dear to my heart too, as my dad and I got to built it together. It is modeled after a Martin D-18 so it has Mahogany back and sides and a carpathian spruce top. I loved getting to customize and built the guitar to specs that I like, including a smaller sized neck and a speed neck (having the finish rubbed off the back of the neck).
CK: It differs depending on venue and instrumentation, but I use my Bartlett fiddle microphone a lot, and Jake and I like to sing into a condenser mic so we can be closer and have more ability for movement. I play a Potter violin which I really love, and fits my personality.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
JH: I love to play basketball when I have the time off from being a professional musician. This includes watching countless hours off Sportscenter and following all kinds of sports (go CLE!). I would say it affects my music, or at least I’d like to think so. I usually watch sports when I sit down to practice. Carolyn can tell you about our shared love for reading.
CK: Jake and I both love to read (hence the name The Page Turners), so I do a lot of that in my free time. A lot of the songs I’ve written are based loosely off of books I’ve read, or have been inspired by, especially westerns. I also love exercising, doing yoga, going hiking, gardening, traveling All of these things absolutely affect my music in a positive way, because they provide inspiration and also an outlet to let go of stress.
How would you describe your music genre?
CK: I would say we play “Roots Music”. I know it sounds generic, but I think it’s the word that is the most true to what we do. We both come from bluegrass and old time traditions, but have always been steeped in other American styles of music as well. For example, my dad is a jazz drummer and I grew up listening to a lot of swing and bop music. I also absolutely love motown, blues, R&B, rock, early country music. All of these styles essentially stem from early rural American roots music, and we try to honor those traditions while still writing original music.
Do you know any music theory?
JH: Yep! We both were fortunate enough to attend the Berklee College of Music and we’ve taken numerous courses on theory, which includes ear training, jazz harmony, classical theory, arranging, ect. I didn’t know how to read music going into Berklee, so I originally learned everything from ear and watching my heroes on YouTube. Now it is a breathe of fresh air to know the reasoning on why certain chord progressions and notes work with each other to create harmony.
CK: Since my parents are both musicians, they had me start learning music theory- especially ear training- early on. I started with the Suzuki method and was reading music by the time I was in grade school, but I didn’t really feel like I truly had a grasp on functional theory until I got to Berklee. I still spend a lot of time thinking and learning about it, it’s an on-going process.
What are your plans for the future?
CK: I plan to play music until I drop, mostly. I’m excited to be in Texas, excited to keep playing, writing, recording and touring with The Page Turners. It’s really a dream gig for me and I’m feeling creatively fulfilled. I like being a side person as well, playing fiddle in other groups. In the next year or two I’m planning on starting a solo project as well, though, just to keep things fresh.
JH: I definitely plan on devoting a lot of time to The Page Turners, because I think this band challenges me musically and is a lot of fun. I also plan on doing some teaching and playing with others as well.
How did you get into music?
CK: Like I said earlier, my parents, as well as a good part of my extended family, are musicians. I started by playing Suzuki violin, and was very involved in the classical world for a long time. Most of my college scholarships were from concerto competitions. But I always felt like something was missing until I started improvising in high school in the local college jazz band that my dad directs. Then I joined a funk/R&B band with my friends in high school (Ship of Foolz), applied and went to Berklee, fell in love with bluegrass, and the rest is history!
JH: My uncle Matt and my dad were two big influences for me starting to play music. My uncle was the once that suggested I get a mandolin. He was the pusher for me getting into bluegrass. Throughout my life my dad has always pushed to do what I love, and always supported me pursuing music.
What are you listening to at the moment?
CK: I’ve always got Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’ Donovan, The Punch Brothers, and The Wood Brothers on repeat. They’re staples. Other staples include but aren’t limited to: Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Tim O’Brien… Some newer albums I’m really stoked on are Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, Anderson. Paak’s Malibu, Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book and Acid rap. I try to listen to at least a couple new albums a week to keep things fresh.
JH: What she said
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
CK: My parents, definitely are amazing, inspiring, and influential. Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’ Donovan are huge icons for me- they’re some of the first women I saw play live and were doing something creative and similar to what I wanted to be doing. Ray Charles is the epitome of what I think music should be- there is no one that is better encapsulates soul. Fiddle wise- Stuart Duncan and Alex Hargreaves. I know this is more than 5, but Jake and I also first bonded over our mutual love for Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer.
JH: For me, being a mandolin player, Joe K. Walsh, Chris Thile and Dominic Leslie are three huge influences. Bach has been big for me also, he has such a huge body of work. John Mayer is someone I’ve listened to so much over the years, I really grew up with his music, and also Dave Matthews Band. Also, a shoutout to Spinal Tap…
When are you playing next?
CK: We’ll be playing at Freshgrass Music Festival in September, and also at Club Passim in Cambridge on August 22nd. Our comprehensive gig list is on www.pageturnersmusic.com. We have lots of shows for the 2018 season coming up so stay tuned to those!
Here’s a link to a new video we just published. It is anoriginal song by our own Carolyn Kendrick. We have our good friend Max Schwartz playing banjo on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=560w73wJ8hg
Stay in touch with tours and news at pageturnersmusic.com
Instagram : page_turners_music