Duo celebrates 10 years and Appalachian sounds

— Photo submitted by Mike Short and Vicki Gayle

10 Years 2Late is what Mike Short and Vicki Gayle, a musical duo, call their new album, to be released on Feb. 26. The pair, who sing folk music with a twist, have been together for a decade, and joke that they are ten years two late for a deal with a major recording studio.

GUILDERLAND — Vicki Gayle and Mike Short, together a singing and songwriting group known as 2Late, are releasing their fourth album, 10 Years 2Late, on Feb. 26.

The pair, who has been performing together for a decade, has not always been a harmonious duo.

“We first met when he was subbing for the organist at my church,” said Gayle. “We didn’t hit it off that well.”

About a month later, Gayle and her husband decided to attend a concert at Short’s church, where they were randomly assigned to sit at the same table as Short and his wife.

“We kept sort of being forced into each other like that,” said Short.

He invited Gayle and her husband to his house for dinner, and Gayle brought her guitar; she and Short played some music and sang together, and, at the end of the evening, she told Short she wanted to take guitar lessons from him.

“He said no,” said Gayle. “He said he wanted to perform with me.” Gayle had been performing at local coffeehouses and restaurants for several years.

“I thought to myself, ‘OK, I’ll pretend that I’ll perform with him for six months or so and get some free lessons out of it,’” said Gayle. That was 10 years ago, and the rest is history.

Though they have been playing together for over a decade, it took them a long time to find a consistent voice.

Gayle had a background in country music, and Short was more interested in bluegrass, folk tunes, and Gospel music.

They combined the sounds, but spent about eight years playing covers of folk music, particularly Eagles songs.

The duo performed at places such as the former Knox Country Store, The Perfect Blend, the Flavor Café, and the Moon and River Café.

It wasn’t until they played a song that Gayle heard over a loudspeaker at the grocery store, “Little White Church,” by Little Big Town, that they discovered the style of music that fit them best.

Short described it as, “Front-porch Appalachians, but a little more updated.”

They also decided to invest in some vocal lessons to tighten up their harmony.

“We learned to trust our own voices,” said Gayle. “Eighty percent of good vocals is mental.”

The new album — named 10 Years 2Late because, they joke, they are “10 years too late for a major recording contract” — consists of 14 original songs, about relationships, including budding relationships; full-blown love; and break-up songs. Most are in the folk style, but there is some pop country, and a “southern rock” song.

“We are so proud of this album,” said Short. “I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

“A lot of people would have gotten to where we were five years ago, and said, ‘That’s good enough,’” said Gayle. “That’s the point where we said, ‘It’s not good enough.’”

2Late will hold a release party on Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., at Café Nola, 617 Union St., Schenectady. A $15 admission price will include appetizers and a copy of the album.

Their hope for the album is first and foremost that it sells enough copies to cover the cost of production — Short produced it himself in a home studio — but, more importantly, that it gets them some attention beyond their small local circle.

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