By Jamie Folsom
Berthoud musicians Hannah Alkire and Joe Scott just happened to be driving through Iowa when I caught up with them. This is their 10th year touring together as the duo Acoustic Eidolon, and although Scott said they haven¹t quite made a million miles, it certainly must be that in terms of musical and life experiences.
The start of their musical career together was filled with more than the usual uncertainties of audience reception, booking gigs and putting together their first CD. Alkire was facing treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma – she struggled to keep her priorities and care for her two-year-old son.
“I call that first CD my ‘life line.’ It was during the cancer chapter of life, while everything was just sort of taking off, bringing me to life in so many ways,” she said.
With her classical background as a cellist, Alkire always seemed so serious to herself, and she felt the new duo endeavor would have to be on the side. But, it turned out to be, as she said, “what I’d been waiting for – a kind of a funnel that all went into one pot.”
Her cello solo “Mosaic” is a tribute to those “mosaic moments” in life, she said, where all the little shattered pieces just sort of fit together, “and we become new and whole.” The song is special to her – it fits in with what Acoustic Eidolon is all about, and the way her life got put together through the music.
“It felt like water for a while, but I had an anchor in my son. And between him and the music, not living was not an option.”
Joe Scott had been Alkire’s neighbor. A Colorado native, he had slowly moved north to the Berthoud area. As a life-long musician, his home recording studio was something of a magnet for Alkire who wanted to start recording. Their mutual love of music led to a relationship and marriage, which was more than a marriage of two people, but also the blending of families and of musical skills.
Scott had a unique sound with the instrument he invented – the double-neck guitjo, which is a combination of guitar and banjo that has extra strings for both necks. The sound is vibrant, unexpected and multifaceted. And Alkire’s cello playing has evolved from straight classical to more inventive and fluid. The combination of the guitjo and the cello gives the impression of an avant-garde string quartet. Their genre-defying sound very strongly reflects the deep commitment they have to their family and to their music.
Scott notes that over the years they have collaborated on songwriting more and more, and added some vocals. “Hopefully we keep growing and keep it fresh,” he said. “Hannah is singing a lot more, and her voice is a nice addition.”
Their music comes from so many things in their lives, and Scott says there is so much inspiration around them every day – from their two sons to the experience of cancer to just living in the beauty of Colorado.
They love sharing their music with audiences and count the miles and the years well worth it. Scott says they much prefer to spend two hours onstage playing their music and talking with people than recording in the studio. He loves the fact that their performances mean something to those who experience it. The music, he says, “is a driving force. It marks the milestones in many people’s lives, and makes it very meaningful. It’s neat to be a part of that.”
And more than that, he said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to do what you love with the person you love. I can’t imagine doing anything more rewarding.”
Join Acoustic Eidolon as they celebrate 10 years of music, and the release of their seventh CD, “River of Fire.” This eighth annual concert at the historic Rialto Theater sells out, so get your tickets early.
Friday Dec. 5 and Saturday Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
228 E. Fourth Street, Loveland
Box Office: (970) 962-2120
$16 adults / $12 seniors and children 12 & under
Sunday Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Littleton Town Hall Arts Center
2450 West Main Street, Littleton, Colo.
Box Office: (303) 794-2787 ext. 5
<p>Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire, aka Acoustic Eidolon. In Greek mythology, an <em>eidolon</em> is a star configuration that is the twin of a living being.</p>