Kyle Thayer (guitar, octave mandolin, fiddle, vocals) has been playing guitar for over 25 years and octave mandolin for 15 years. For the past seven years he has backed top Irish musicians in the Bay Area, appearing on stage with Clare concertina player Gearoid O hAllmhurain, pipers Paddy Keenan and Todd Denman, and fiddlers Randal Bays and Bill Dennehy. Kyle is an accompanist with the San Francisco-based Irish dance group the Celtic Dance Ensemble, who have appeared numerous times at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.
Currently Kyle plays with two bands specializing in traditional-based acoustic music: Curlew and The Mild Colonial Boys. Curlew (Paul Kotapish, mandolin & guitar, Maureen Brennan, harp, Bobbi Nikles, fiddle) plays high energy instrumental music from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Islands. The Mild Colonial Boys (Rory McNamara, guitar & vocals; John Caulfield, fiddle, mandolin & vocals) balance solo and duet singing in the Irish, English and American traditions with lively instrumental music.
Rainshadow, Kyle's 1993 solo album of traditional-inspired acoustic music was given rave reviews by Dirty Linen Magazine.
Dirty Linen Review:
Kyle Thayer Rainshadow [Watershed Productions RS-01 (1993)]
"Divided between Thayer originals and traditional tunes, these songs are a refreshing blend of modern instrumental music with Celtic influences. Thayer is never less than superb on cittern (octave mandolin) as he wanders among jigs, waltzes and reels with the able assistance of guitarist Mark Ungar (ex-Phoenyx) and Scott Thunes (Frank Zappa, Steve Vai) on a double bass that levels out the higher-pitched elements of the recording. Some of the best tunes are those featuring the interplay between Thayer, Ungar and guest fiddler Heather Alexander. "The Looking Glass/Watershed Reel," "The Mason's Apron/Chinquapin Hunting" and others sound as though the band really "clicked." The ambitious, complex "The Turning" features Alexander on some lovely fiddle passages complementing Thayer's wonderfully lyrical cittern."
Dirty Linen, June/July 1994, #52
Musician's Statement: The product of a deep infatuation with the octave mandolin and a new enthusiasm for Irish tunes, Rainshadow was originally released on cassette (RS-01) in 1993. Since then I have played a great deal of Irish traditional music (on guitar and fiddle) and have gained a deeper understanding and love of the tradition, with its range of flavors, moods, tune shapes and structures. Looking back, the selections are simple good traditional tunes, and serve as a record of my discovery of this music.
Another strain running through the album, particularly the original compositions, is a love of the land of Marin County, California, where I grew up. Walking and biking in the Mount Tamalpais watershed continues to exert a powerful force on me, one that I hope the listener can hear in this music.