Music and Marriage: The folk years
Maggie McKaig and Luke Wilson aren’t your average neighbors.
Wilson is a luthier – someone who makes and repairs wooden string instruments – while McKaig is a part-time music and theater instructor at Yuba River Charter School.
But most important, the couple are longtime musicians, vocalists and composers who released their fifth self-produced musical album “Edge of the World,” last February.
The pair has lived in Nevada City for the past 20 years and has performed with bands at numerous nature festivals, concert halls and radio stations across California, Oregon, Washington and western Canada, McKaig said.
“It’s a very eclectic folk (music) which qualifies as world music,” said McKaig, referring to the genre she and her husband plays. “Our music is inspired not only by folk traditions of this country but also by Celtic, gypsy, eastern European and Middle-eastern music.”
McKaig, 56, and Wilson, 61, play with a four-member band called Storm Session, McKaig said. The group also includes Murray Campbell, a Scottish musician who plays the violin, oboe and English horn, and Michael Zisman, a San Francisco jazz musician who plays the bass and the mandolin, McKaig added.
McKaig is a vocalist who plays the guitar and accordion. Wilson plays 15 different instruments including the banjo, dobro, tenor guitar and lap steel guitar, Wilson said.
“Everything that’s going on in life from politics to food” influences Wilson’s compositions, he said. McKaig said she was inspired by nature, love, conflict, history and language, among other things.
“I’m also fascinated by people’s stories,” she said. “The instrumental music comes from the cosmos,” she added with laughter in her voice.
McKaig and Wilson have two sons – 24-year-old Tennyson Wilson who works for a San Francisco advertising firm and 21-year old Bryn Wilson who’s a Sierra College English major.
Luke Wilson has his instrument repair shop on his property off of Bitney Springs Road, McKaig said.
Neither Luke Wilson nor McKaig has a regular 9-to-5 job – a schedule that sometimes is challenging, McKaig confessed. But “we have hung in there long enough to realize there’s always the classic highs and lows,” she said.
“When you think things are impossible, there’s always a shift and what was impossible isn’t so impossible anymore,” she said. “A sense of humor is also very essential.”
The pair will perform next at KVMR’s birthday celebrations on July 12 at downtown Nevada City, McKaig said. They will play with Peter Wilson, a local singer and songwriter who also plays the guitar and harmonica.
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