Capturing the variety and sizzle its name suggests, the new-acoustic “supergroup” Taarka (Flagstaff Live) delivers deep yet adventurous Americana in its seventh album, Fading Mystery (March 10). An all-original collection of songs, Fading Mystery hints at the band’s many influences – folk, swing, bluegrass, Gypsy-Jazz, and Celtic – while clearly communicating its own unique sound.
A most musical husband-wife duo, David Tiller (mandolin, electric guitar, and vocals) and Enion Pelta-Tiller (five-string violin and vocals) first met at a mutual gig in New York City a few months before the tragedy of 9/11/01. Escaping the city, they headed west, formed Taarka, and in 2006, moved to music-rich Lyons, Colorado. Along with the Tillers, band members include award-winning bassist Troy Robey (bass, harmony vocals) and newest member Mike Robinson (guitar, harmony vocals). “I’ve been with Taarka for three years,” says Robinson. “It’s inspiring to be part of the band in this stage and to watch people who are so capable writing songs out of their heart.”
In 2013, the Tillers were among many in the artistic community of Lyons, Colorado, to lose their house and belongings to a 1,000-year flood. “Before the flood, we had a recording studio,” says Tiller of The Distillery, the studio he ran with Enion and the tragedy that in some ways strengthened the couple’s musical passions. “We still have our music, we still have each other. I hope what we do becomes an important part of other people’s lives.”
Post-flood, the Tillers poured themselves into their music, completing first the therapeutic Making Tracks Home (2015) and then the coming release, Fading Mystery. With delightful and swingy instrumentals (“Retreat”) and fun, ethereal highlights (“Athena,” “Polyamorous Polly Ann,”) Fading Mystery reflects well the band’s endurance and renewed outlook.
With some gear salvaged from the flood and more generously provided by Grace Designs and Peluso Microphones, Tiller engineered and recorded Fading Mystery live in a big one-room cabin near the banks of eastern Virginia’s Potomac River. The result is one of the band’s purest albums to date. “We're incredibly proud of it, and know you'll love it too,” says Pelta-Tiller.
Despite the challenges of the past few years, Taarka has remained a touring dynamo, performing internationally with artists Darol Anger, Peter Rowan, Yonder Mountain String Band and many more. Now having completed their first successful Kickstarter campaign, members look forward to sharing their new music – and continuing gratitude – with fans around the country. Guitarist Robinson sums it up: “This music has somewhere to go.”
2017 Tour Dates Include:
January 25 – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, New York, N.Y.
January 26 – Radio Bean, Burlington, Vt.
January 28 – Dogwood Bakery, Wadhams, N.Y.
January 29 – Club Passim, Boston, Mass.
February 9 – Avogadro’s Number, Fort Collins, Colo.
February 16-18 – Folk Alliance, Kansas City, Miss.
February 21 – Boulder Library, Boulder, Colo.
April 14 – The Caribou Room, Nederland, Colo.