Red Hen in harmony

Music brought Jane Rothfield and Linda Schrade and their husbands together about 20 years ago.

Rothsfield plays the fiddle and the banjo, and her husband, Allan Carr, plays guitar and bass. Schrade also plays the guitar, and her husband, Dave Kiphuth, plays the banjo and dobjo, a combination steel guitar with a five-string banjo neck.

Two decades ago, Rothsfield and Carr were living in Scotland. Schrade and Kiphuth made their home in New Hampshire.

But both couples traveled around the U.S. to play their instruments and enjoy traditional music. When their paths crossed, there was an instant connection.

We just liked each other right off, Schrade said.

Both couples coincidentally moved to the Capital District years later. But as much as they may have wanted to revisit those days of playing together, they were busy working and raising their families.

"Circumstances didn't make it possible," Rothsfield said.

Circumstances have a way of changing, though. Their kids have grown, and recently, music brought the couples back together. They formed a band, Red Hen, which is going to play at Old Songs in Voorheesville Saturday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m.

Carr and Rothfield have a thick catalog of original songs. They couldn't perform the tunes by themselves, though, Rothfield said. Schrade and Kiphuth have proved the perfect complement.

"Our voices blended really, really well," Rothfield said, noting all four band members sing. "It just really blended beautifully."

Schrade said another key is that "we have the right instrument mix."

Beyond that, "We just like each other. We get along well," she said.

Schrade, who owns Saratoga Beads, grew up in Delmar and took up the guitar when she was 14. She loved to sing and needed an instrument to back herself.

As she got older, Schrade started to attend musical festivals. At one, she met Kiphuth, who had been "totally smitten" with the banjo since the first time he'd heard someone play the instrument.

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