SARANAC LAKE - BluSeed Studios "Live at BluStage" concert series will present the Americana trio Runaway Home at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Promoting themselves as "the Troubadour, the Guitar Slinger and the Mountain Songbird," the power trio's debut, self-titled CD was hailed as a "smash" by World Music Nashville and "extremely promising" by Robert Oermann of Music Row Magazine.
Runaway Home is a collaboration between three singer-songwriters: Mark Elliott ("The Troubadour"), Gary Culley ("The Guitar Slinger") and Lisa McCarter ("The Mountain Songbird"). Their national tour includes a four-day string of shows in New York's North Country: Thursday on Barb Heller's "String Fever" bluegrass show on North Country Public Radio and then at Pickens Hall in Heuvelton, Friday at BluSeed, Saturday at the Cadyville Concert Hall in Cadyville and Sunday at the Clayton Opera House in Clayton.
Runaway Home is, from left, Gary Culley, Lisa McCarter and Mark Elliott
Runaway Home is, from left, Lisa McCarter, Gary Culley and Mark Elliott
The album, which the band produced itself, features 14 original tunes, including "Bye Bye Baby Jane," the band's signature track; the lush, reggae-tinged "I Need Your Love"; the swampy "Tell Me Mississippi"; and the wistful "Can You Hear My Song." The songs segue from folk-influenced to bluegrass-based to country-raised.
Runaway Home formed as a trio with a backing band in January 2012 and released its CD later that June. Their highlight performances that year included Bluebird Cafe and the World Famous Station Inn, both in Nashville, as well as Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Ga., and at the Pensacola Songwriter's Festival in Pensacola Beach, Fla. They also made several appearances on famed radio station WSM-AM 650 (longtime "voice of the Opry").
A disciple of Tom Paxton, the Chickasha, Okla.-born Elliott (vocals, acoustic lead and rhythm guitars) has recorded five solo albums and has several cuts to his credit as a writer, most notably "Making Ends Meet" on "With A Cowboy" and a top-30 hit with Neal McCoy, "Every Man For Himself." Elliott is a former winner (with Culley) of the coveted Kerrville New Folk Prize at the Kerrville Folk Festival.
Culley (vocals, acoustic lead and rhythm guitars, mandolin and banjo) was born in Chicago, raised in Boston and came to Nashville in 1991. He is a graduate of the first class in songwriting at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston. While working in the tape room at Sony/ATV, Culley worked his way up to being a staff writer and had his song "Where the Wheels Meet the Road" recorded by bluegrass group Continental Divide on their "Feel Good Day" CD. Culley has one solo CD under his belt ("There Are Times") and is a key part of the Country Music Hall of Fame's Words & Music Program, which pairs Nashville writers with schoolchildren to write songs and present them at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
McCarter (vocals) grew up in Sevierville, Tenn., in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains and just miles from Dolly Parton's home. Lisa and her sisters Jennifer and Teresa (a twin) played music on the streets of Pigeon Forge, sang and danced on the "Bonnie Lou and Buster Show" on east Tennessee TV and signed with Warner Brothers Records in 1987 as The McCarters. They went on to record two albums which garnered seven hits, including "The Gift," which climbed to No. 4 on the charts. The McCarter sisters embarked on world tours with Parton and Randy Travis, appeared on Parton's variety TV show "Dolly!" the TV series "Hee-Haw" and the Grand Ole Opry.