By: Caitlin Skvorc, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman
WASILLA — Indie folk rock artist Willy Porter is up north this week with Carmen Nickerson from Milkwaukee, Wisconsin for a whirlwind tour of performances throughout the state.
The finger-picking, crooning duo flew into Alaska Thursday for shows in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Palmer this weekend, and to promote their new album, “Bonfire to Ash.”
“It’s really about the experience we’ve had as humans living for as long as we’ve lived … a dialogue between two people that reflects the arc of relationship,” Porter said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“Bonfire to Ash” is the first album Porter and Nickerson have completely co-wrote, with each of them weighing in on each track. The two have performed together since 2010, though Porter has been playing solo since the late 1980s, and Nickerson has several other projects of her own, including “The Carmen Sutra Band.”
Over the years Porter has shared the stage with big names like Jeff Beck, Sting, Paul Simon, Tori Amos and Jethro Tull. He said his 1996 performance with Amos at the Royal Albert Hall in London was probably the most memorable live show he’d played.
Porter said he was inspired to make a career in music by his father’s jazz piano skills, though for him it was always a hobby.
“I just never really imagined that I’d be doing anything else,” Porter said.
As far as songwriting goes, he said that it’s all about “allowing (the creative process) to happen, and not standing in the way of it.”
“I think it’s important to catch ourselves having fun,” he said.
Porter said he’s looking forward to making a second album with Nickerson in the future, though “Bonfire to Ash” isn’t set to release until November. He said he’s also looking forward to being back in Alaska, and having a tiny bit more time to hopefully do some sightseeing — including, possibly, hiking the Butte.
For more information about Willy Porter and Carmen Nickerson, visit www.willyporter.com.
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