It is a joy to discover new talent in this great state of ours. We have a lot of it here, that’s for sure. Such is the case with today’s column that finds me calling Augusta to chat with Michele Roy, a fiddle player and part of a duo known as Twisted Strings. They will perform Saturday, March 17, at Somerset Abbey.

Q: Now, I’ve just got to ask — seeing you’re a fiddle player with the last name of Roy …

Roy: No, I’m not related to Don Roy. (Laughter)

Q: I take it you get asked that a lot. (Laughter)

Roy: Yeah, actually. It’s people that know who plays fiddle, and they recognize the name and assume. But I’ve always been asked about relationships with Roys and there are a lot of us in Maine.

Q: Well, now that that’s been established, how long has Twisted Strings been in existence, and who is your partner, too? I should probably ask that, as well.

Roy: Yes, Will West is his name, and I think it’s been six years about? Yeah, it was in 2011 or 2012.

Q: Do you guys play out much?

Roy: We do a fair amount. Back when we started out I was only working part time, and because we just wanted to get out as much as we could, we did a lot of things all over the place. Since then, I’m back to working full time, and we have a lot of projects going on. So, we have a regular monthly thing that we do at a local restaurant here in Augusta. We also do weddings and the occasional contra dance, that sort of thing.

Q: Have you ever played at the Somerset Abbey before?

Roy: No, I had not heard about it, to be honest. It sounds like an interesting venue. I’m looking forward to it.

Q: How did you meet Will?

Roy: Well, we have been acquainted before, and we got kind of reacquainted. He’s played music forever, but not this kind of music that we play now. So, it’s been very interesting. And, I started with contra dance music, so what we do now we kind of stumbled into. We went to an Irish session up in Bangor and very much enjoyed rediscovering the traditional Irish stuff. And we both were intrigued, and that’s kind of the direction we took off in. It’s been fun. There’s so much music out there; it’s kind of fun to focus on a specific genre for a little bit.

Q: Now, he plays guitar?

Roy: He plays guitar and Irish bouzouki.

Q: Well, if you’re going to play Irish music, playing an Irish instrument makes sense.

Roy: But like I said, he’s played music for 50-plus years — we’re old (laughter). But, when we started playing this he started exploring different tunings and such on his guitar and then picked up the Irish bouzouki, which was another whole different thing. It’s been just great fun for me to have someone like that to play right along with on a daily basis.

Q: Now, do you vocalize or is this strictly instrumental music?

Roy: Instrumental.

Q: How do you go about picking material to perform?

Roy: That’s one of the most fun things for me. I’m kind of a tune junkie, and there are just so many tunes out there. Sometimes you’re just playing things, and things just naturally want to go to the next tune. Sometimes things just happen really quickly and easily, like it’s made to be. Transitions are always fun for us. Often we’ll go jig to reel, or reel to jig, or minor to major, that kind of thing. It’s just something that evolves. It’s just really fascinating how it works, there’s no science to it. It’s just something that goes in one direction or the other. We say everyday, we love our sets. It’s fun to have lots of favorite tunes that are in medleys. They tend to be three-tune medleys, more or less, and they’re keepers. We have some sets that we played six years ago that we’re still doing now, but we keep coming up with new ones, too.

Q: Is there anything, Michele, seeing you’ve never played at the Somerset Abbey before, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Roy: Just that we do a regular first Friday at the Black & Tan Pub in Augusta. That’s where we can most easily be heard, and we always like to share our music. That’s the fun thing about doing this. People seem to really like the live, up-close fiddle and guitar stuff. So, it’s fun to share what we love to do. Oh, and we do have a website, if you could run that it would be great.

Q: Is there anything we haven’t discussed that you think we should? This is your forum, after all.

Roy: Ahh, Roy’s sitting there not saying anything (chuckle). Oh, there is actually one little thing that I think is very interesting. I mentioned that Will plays the Irish bouzouki, he’s also been building them, so the instrument he plays, he built himself. It’s a beautiful thing.

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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