Songstress Lily Talmers Pairs with Monte Pride for All Saints Concert

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Thursday, February 14, 2019, 7:54 am
Christopher A. Wardell

Above: Monte Pride and Lily Talmers

Singer-songwriter Lily Talmers will perform a show February 15 as a part of a duo with fellow contemporary singer-songwriter Monte Pride at The Coffeehouse at All Saints. The show starts at 7:30 and the venue is located on the ground floor of the All Saints Episcopal Church. Admission is free.

Fellow musicians Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke, Brandon Grafius, Jim Jersey, Ellen Grafius, Anne-Marie Rachman, Susan Rosser, Steve Findley and Chris Carl will also perform.

Growing up in suburban Detroit, Talmers never thought she would find herself performing onstage with a guitar. On a piano, maybe, but never a guitar. One day, a chance encounter with a Simon and Garfunkel song changed all of that.

“I actually began in classical music, on piano at age five and later on cello around 13 through public school,” Talmers said. “I was really only interested in classical music until about age 16, and remember making a concerted effort to be a snob about non-classical music. My mom had picked me up a guitar at an estate sale, and I initially turned my nose up at it. It wasn't until I heard Simon and Garfunkel's version of Scarborough Fair that I really began diving into folk music, and finally picked up that guitar.”

Simon and Garfunkel opened the door to artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen, and all of those influences factor into the music Talmers writes and performs today. She’s currently getting ready to release her first EP, and is hoping to enter the studio later this year to record her first full-length album.

“I finished my first EP up in the studio a few weeks ago, actually,” Talmers said. “It will be seven tracks of all live takes and very minimal production. The first track off of it, ‘Things You Can Find,’ will be released in a few weeks, and the rest should be out within the next two months.”

For now, Talmers is biding her time and honing her craft onstage while finishing her degree in philosophy and comparative literature at the University of Michigan. According to Talmers, her studies are also a big factor in the music she writes.

“I have been doing work in English, Portuguese, and Modern Greek, and have spent a good chunk of the last four years living outside of the US, mostly in Greece and Portugal,” Talmers said. “In my studies and my existence in general, I've developed a bit of an obsession with language and with folk music, and a love for the folk/bluegrass tradition of the US, the Fado tradition of Portugal, and the Rembetiko tradition of Greece. Writing and performing music has been a great outlet and personal study for me, especially amidst all the academic rigor of the past few years.”

With all of this knowledge in one hand, and a guitar in the other, the musician has found herself sharing the stage with numerous musicians around the state, including Pride. The collaboration started when the two met in Ann Arbor, and both share a mutual admiration for Americana artists Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.

“Our respective writing and sounds are based on a lot of the same artists, so it was easy to gain respect for each other's work and doing gigs together. We do a lot of performing together live, because we complement each other's solo work so well. We add instrumental stuff and harmonies to each other's songs, and it really augments the performances of each song. On a logistic level, it's also really nice to do gigs with another person. I think we both find it lonely doing solo gig after solo gig, and it's good to share the experience with someone.”

Pride agrees performing solo all the time can lead to a lonesome musical existence, so he finds his performances with Talmers both refreshing and uplifting.

“Lily is a true poet. An incredibly thoughtful, powerful, articulate songwriter who draws from a deep well of inspiration,” Pride said. “Working with her has been wonderful and she has challenged me musically, shown me the beauty in singing harmony and performing as a duo.”

Talmers is looking forward to seeing and performing in front of new faces at the coffeehouse, and she’s hoping her music resonates with people.

“I think the aspiration of any performer is to meet people where they are,” Talmers said. “Whether that takes the form of presenting lyrics and ideas that resonate with people, or just pleasing them with the aesthetics of the music itself, I hope that people feel present during any performance I do. I've come to appreciate how music gives you really unique insight into whoever is creating it, and I hope to emulate that on some level in what I choose to perform.”

More information on the Coffeehouse at All Saints is available here.
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