When the married, musical duo of China and Seth Kent first started gigging together, they were pressured to provide a band name "by morning" to the venue that had booked them for an upcoming show. …
When the married, musical duo of China and Seth Kent first started gigging together, they were pressured to provide a band name "by morning" to the venue that had booked them for an upcoming show. That night, Seth turned to his partner and said, "China, we have to decide on a band name." She replied, "Alright, alright."
The phrase struck a chord. The Kents have called their musical duo, Alright, Alright ever since.
Alright, Alright is a folk, alternative, Americana-styled duo. I caught up with them from their home in Denver, Colorado.
While they have been playing for some time now, China told me this is their first time to play in Taos. Come out and listen on Friday (Oct. 19) from 4-5:30 p.m. at The Taos Inn's Adobe Bar, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. The show is free and will include tracks from Alright, Alright's newest album "Nearby" as well as its companion EP titled "Far Away."
"This is a collection of songs that are very Americana in genre. But, each song is unique - dressed in a different Americana costume sonically. It runs the gamut from super simple - just a guitar and voice, to a string quartet," said China.
" The album, 'Nearby,' contains the broadest spectrum of production we've done, and the most developed ideas as well," added Seth.
Alright, Alright marries sensitively rich vocals with luscious piano and guitar. From country stylings to soulful sensibilities, this duo covers a lot of ground with a unique eloquence that stirs the heart.
China Kent was trained as a classical pianist from a young age and attended Vanderbilt University. Then, she switched tracks and took her piano skills to a number of bands before forming Alright, Alright with Seth. China has also done work in the studio and has worked with the arranger for the Colorado Symphony, transcribing various musical parts from audio recordings into written musical language.
"There's a real need for classical musicians that speak both languages, pop music and classical," said China.
Seth worked for a number of years as a guitar technician in a recording studio. He grew up in a church and taught himself to play guitar with his friends.
"Learning by watching and doing, that's how I learned the technical side of music," said Seth.
In high school, Seth studied classical guitar with David Gomes from the Big Island in Hawaii. Gomes is a well-known luthier, or maker of guitars. Seth said he played solo guitar before playing with China, but he was never a guitar or bass player with bands outside of a church context.
Interestingly, the Kents also have composed scores for independent films, including "Brick," "Blue State," "The Brothers Bloom" and "Jam."
In their family life, the Kents are also parents. I asked them how they balance their family and musical responsibilities, and if they have a regular routine.
"There's nothing regular," China was quick to respond. "The thing that's regular is we all have to eat. … It is a very intricate circus routine, it feels like."
China said that she and Seth get their work done when their kids are in school.
"The kids are a high priority for us," said China. "We love having kids and being a family so much."
Seth and China have been making music together for around 14 years. They formed Alright, Alright a few years later, but committed to the duo seriously about three and a half years ago.
I'm always curious about how musicians navigate the waters of collaboration, especially when they are also a couple. For the Kents, the process started out somewhat unevenly, but has smoothed out over the years. China said they typically work on a song by sending it back and forth.
"I'll write something and give it to Seth and he works on it. It doesn't work very well if we talk about it. We have to take it into our own space and bring it back to the other," China said.
"It definitely takes a lot of vulnerability with each other," added Seth.
"Ten years ago, we were trying to work together, and it was not working too well and we didn't understand why," said China.
"I was pretty loosey, goosey and China was pretty rigid, and we found a way to move toward each other," Seth explained. "It helps, too, that after doing hard work, we have products we are really proud of."
In addition to "Nearby," and "Far Away," the duo has produced a two-song EP titled "The Nowhere Farm Session." Listen to Alright, Alright on the website alrightx2.com.
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