In music, there are few pleasures so simple and satisfying as hearing two simpatico voices becoming sweetly intertwined in duet. For the singers, thought and care surely go into planning harmonies and other intricacies, but the effect comes across as effortless – the audience is free to be swept away by those bewitching sounds.
Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms embody a certain archetype in the world of musical duos: Klauder’s voice, dusty and a little travel-worn, meets and balances Willms’ honeyed tune. The effect can be likened to buts of sunshine peeking through the tree-line onto a tucked-away mountain trail. Accompanying their voices is charmingly old-fashioned string music, with Willms on guitar and Klauder on fiddle and mandolin. Though they perform a number of original songs, those get mixed in with more traditional fare from the realms of folk, bluegrass, and roots music, lending a certain timelessness to the proceedings.
Klauder’s been a fixture in the Pacific Northwest music scene since the ’90s, cutting his teeth with folk-rock powerhouse Calobo before forming outfits like the Caleb Klauder Band and Foghorn Stringband. Willms, meanwhile, got a late start to the professional music world, learning how to play guitar and sing in her early twenties. Klauder and Willms started performing together in 2008, but it sounds as though they’ve been bandmates since day one. There’s a playful ease that is felt between the pair, which likely comes from a combination of innate chemistry and the immersion that can come with the kind of extensive touring they do.
It’s fitting that Klauder and Willms should be playing the Oly Old Time Festival: to hear their music is to briefly entertain the idea that you’ve stumbled upon a forgetten duo’s long-lost record with a wealth of untold stories lurking in the grooves.
Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms
7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15
South Bay Grange
3918 Sleater Kinney Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506
$20 For Friday Night’s Concert