McKrells make music a family affair

Music really wasn't Kevin McKrell's thing.

Growing up, his passion was art. But when a buddy suggested they form a band when both were about 19 or 20, McKrell was game.

He started singing and we just threw some stuff together, McKrell said. "It was just something to do until something else happened."

What happened was McKrell got a rush out of being on stage.

"I fell in love with performing," he said. "I love the energy of being in front of people, the spontaneity."

McKrell never abandoned his love of art -- he's a painter who has had several shows throughout the Capital District -- but he quickly got serious about music, too. He and his buddy, Jeff Strange, founded an Irish folk band called Donnybrook Fair with David McDonnell and toured the country. When McKrell had a daughter, Katie, he brought her on the road.

He never pushed music on her -- "He's definitely not a stage dad," Katie said -- but she fell in love with it, too.

Some 30 years later, McKrell is still performing and Katie is still at his side. About two years ago, the duo formed their own band, The McKrells, performing mostly Irish music. They'll stage "An Irish House Party" Saturday, March 14, at Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs, followed by a St. Patrick's Day show at the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs.

Both of the McKrells are prolific songwriters. Their shows generally include some of their own numbers, as well as traditional Irish tunes. While both write and perform other styles of music " Katie has her own album of "indie folk" songs in the works " Irish music has always held a strong appeal, and not just because both grew up with it.

"It's the stories," Kevin said. "The songs evoke politics, freedom, love. They're not just verse, chorus, verse, chorus love songs. They're told to pass along stories."

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