American-born multi-instrumentalist Michael Kerry discovered Irish music as a young adult, encountering fiddler Kevin Burke at a pub in his hometown of St. Louis, MO. Since then he has chased the muse relentlessly, in the Pacific Northwest, New England, and Ireland itself. A regular fixture of the Boston session scene for several years, he absorbed traditional melodies and styling while accompanying noted local (Kathleen Conneely, Seamus Connolly, Louise Costello, Tommy McCarthy, Jimmy Noonan, Johnny O'Leary) and visiting (Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, Brendan Mulvahill, Tommy Peoples) musicians at some of Boston's finest pubs. He is equally at home playing for dancers as well as listeners, and can often be found traveling throughout New England and the United States to play for traditional dances. A dance caller as well as a musician, he teaches and leads both American and Irish traditional dance. In 1998 & 1999, Michael won the North American Irish Music championship on banjo and guitar, and represented the U.S. at the All-Ireland Fleadh, taking 2nd in guitar accompaniment in 1998. Currently residing in Boston, he keeps busy with performances, teaching, and recording projects.
Here's what they're saying about his debut recording,
The Rocky Road:
"...Sweet, subtle and eminently entertaining. Michael plays his Gibson A-model with quiet, intimate attention, as if each tune is a story he wants you to enjoy. Hot popular numbers flow nicely into first-rate originals; there are good, coppable tunes for the Celtic enthusiast looking for something new. And the dance tunes are played with an infectious lilt, backed by solid, unobtrusive guitar. A laudable effort, top to bottom."
"On the grand scale of things, there aren't that many recordings of straightforward Irish traditional music played on mandolin. So when a really nice one crossed our doorstep not so long ago, compliments of this fine player from a neighboring state, we couldn't pass it up. It's tasteful, it's relaxed, it's recognizably Irish trad, and where there's a new tune, it blends in seamlessly with the old. It also doesn't hurt that Mr. Kerry can also apply his taste and accomplishments to the guitar, and knows how to provide accompaniment that punctuates nicely but doesn't draw attention off the melody instrument. On the whole, though, it's not just the musicianship but the relaxed atmosphere of this album which draws it into the CD player and leaves it there. This is not a musician with anything to prove but that the music speaks for itself and is worth listening to...in this case, often!"
--S.D., Andy's Front Hall
"Very simple and tasteful arrangements, just mando with guitar accompaniment (Kerry himself plays the accompaniment, and it's first-class), and as a result one of the most mando-centric Celtic CD's you'll ever hear. This stands a fair chance of becoming my all-time favorite Celtic mandolin CD."
--Dane T., IL
"This beautifully recorded, intimate album of Celtic music features Michael Kerry performing solo and in overdubbed duets with himself on mandolin and guitar. Kerry has chops aplenty, a delicate touch, and a real sensitivity for his material. Indeed, his original compositions blend in seamlessly with the traditional tunes. Nice stuff."
--Sing Out! Magazine
"You are composing some great stuff."
--Susan Conger, fiddler, composer
editor, Along The River
"I just love the tunes and the way you play them. With most recordings, I find myself thinking as I listen to them--'that's a good tune, that's an interesting arrangement. However, with a few recordings, I think, "I've got to learn that tune, and that one, oh, and that one too!" as I'm hearing them for the first time. These recordings are always the ones that stick with me and become my true favorites over the years, and that's how I felt when I heard The Rocky Road. I have been listening to it over and over."
--Sue Songer, fiddler, pianist
editor, The Portland Collection