By CHARITY MARCHANDT // A new album of ukulele happiness!
Kate Power and Steve Einhorn go way back. “ You never know when love is gonna strike”…Says Kate during one of their ukulele shows before beginning a plucky chord pattern in a song called "Crush" with musical and life partner Steve. Kate and Steve met in Portland, Oregon after Kate migrated from the east coast in 1977. Kate come of age during the epic 60’s New York folk scenes , opening in her teens for Townes Van Zant and Utah Phillips in unassuming coffee shops and festival stages eventually winning the Music2Life Grand Prize.
Steve, a New Yorker, found his calling in the folk scene through storytelling circles and studying jug band luminaries such as Jim Kweskin, eventually making his way to Portland, Oregon in 1978. When he and Kate met through colleagues sparks flew. Since then musically, Kate and Steve have fused their lyrical and poetic approach to Americana music into a fun exposition of folk, grabbing the attention of programs such as Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion in the process and finding time for Steve to become owners of the beloved Portland music shop- Artichoke Music in 1981. They have since handed the keys over to a new owner in 2007 so that Kate and he could hit the road and make more music.
Several music projects have come out of those adventures, notably their 2009 album Brick and Mortar which offers sweet harmonies around songs of travel worn sentiments but their latest projects supply happier tunes born out of honoring the place that they met. Portland Romance, Steve and Kate’s recent release contains all the cowboy chord progressions with melodies that are more honeyed and sweet than soulful. The album seems to plate itself as a sampler of what love can be with 21 tracks of psalms, ballads, carols and chants.
Portland Romance was recently part of the song set during the not to be missed "Ukulele Roadshow" featuring other talented ukulele artists such as Quiet American, Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel. The tour visited Seattle, Olympia and Portland, recently wrapping up in Lincoln City. Fall opportunities to see Kate and Steve perform are still possible through their event calendar- an October House Concert is quickly filling up at a secret location in Lake Oswego and they teach their in demand ukulele workshops (cleverly named Ukalalieans) to communities coast to coast. “This is the hardest working woman in show biz.” Steve says nodding to Kate on stage as Kate’s finger picking intensifies in the song Crush. A sweet harmony indeed.
Catch them with their band The Portlanders. Get your tickets for 1st Sunday, Oct 2 at O'Connors Vault.www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2570742.
Just before Kate and Steve moved back to Portland in December of 2014, OMN caught up with them in their new house, which was still being restored.