Ashland's Kites & Crows is breaking into a new market with its latest and first full-length recording, "More for the Mender."
The folk trio — Mysha Caruso, Jesse Baldwin and Nancy Martin — officially releases the album Friday, Sept. 28. However, it has been available for download at www. kitesandcrows.bandcamp.com since Sept. 11.
"This album we're targeting for TV usage," Caruso says.
Who: Kites & Crows
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28
Where: Enoteca Wine Tasting & Bistro, 17 N. Main St., Ashland
With a family to support and a job at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Caruso says he had become less interested in touring and gigging. So not wanting to give up music altogether, he and his bandmates began looking for alternative outlets for their music.
Caruso's muse turned out to be one of his favorite television shows, "Parenthood." He says he was inspired by the way a good show and soundtrack could elicit strong emotions and began writing his own songs that would create an emotional response.
"I used to write based on stories or imagery, but I started creating lyrics and moods in songs that were based on emotion," he says.
"More for the Mender" features full, orchestral sounds and universal themes suitable for a soundtrack, Caruso says.
Despite the trio's new aspirations, its music continues to fall comfortably into Americana and folk genres. This particular album is influenced by Seattle-based, pop-folk, indie band The Head and The Heart and Grammy-winning folk band Bon Iver.
"The album goes from more of an upbeat, rollicking Americana with drums, bass and banjo ... to more of a singer-songwriter, ethereal, folk sound with atmospheric layers of vibraphonette and strings," Caruso says.
The trio creates an orchestral presence on the album with extensive and varied instrumentation. Caruso plays vibraphonette, percussion, acoustic and electric guitars, drums, piano, toy piano, bowed glockenspiel and chord organ. Baldwin plays upright bass, Dobro, banjo, accordion, chord organ, lap-steel guitar and vibraphonette. Martin plays cello, and guest musician Kimberly Fitch plays violin on two songs.
Caruso called the album "More for the Mender" because many of the songs address broken and lost relationships. One such song is "Rusty Heart." The chorus to the song goes, "Smell the teardrops' salty brine, flood the iron cage of mine till my rusty heart stops trying."
Caruso credits Amanda Bryn, formerly of One Horse Shy, as his "lyrical insight" on the back of the album.
There will be a CD-release party and performance at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, at Enoteca Wine Tasting & Bistro, 17 N. Main St., Ashland. The show is free, and copies of the CD will be available for $15. The trio also plays an OSF Green Show Sunday, Sept. 30. Fitch will accompany both performances.
Call 541-482-3377 or see www.kitesandcrows.net.