Kansas City area musician Kelly Werts will be performing at the Coutts Museum of Art’s monthly Brown Bag Lunch Program from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Werts sings songs from early America in partnership with his fingerstyle guitar. In an era long before today’s singer-songwriters, songs were born anonymously and then open-sourced to multiple singers over many years, with the results being available to use now as time-tested treasures. Werts brings these old songs into a new dialogue between voice and instrument, with surprises at each new encounter.
Over the past 30 years Werts has explored many new ways of playing old-time traditional music in groups like The Plaid Family and The Sons of Rayon, where the purity of varied acoustic sounds have mingled in sometimes jarring new ways. Away from the structure of such ensembles, he is freer to choose his options as they arise, adding a guitar lick or harmony here and a change of key there.
Therein lies the excitement of Wert’s solo performances. Exploring chestnuts of old-time Americana (as well as a few songs from the past 50 years), Werts takes the audience on a sightseeing trip through the mysterious and wonderful landscape of each song.
Werts has established a reputation as a performer, arranger and producer through his collaborations with some of the best musicians in the Midwest. His appearances in concerts, festivals and schools have helped to keep the old songs alive in the hearts and minds of young and old. By constantly finding new ways of playing old-time music, he has helped to preserve and illuminate it for generations to come.
The Coutts Museum of Art, located in downtown El Dorado is a regional destination art museum that houses more than 1,500 works of art in an historic downtown building. The collection includes Art of the American West, contemporary American, European, and regional Kansas art.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The museum and all Brown Bag Programs are always free and open to the public, funded in part by El Dorado Main Street. Check the Coutts’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ couttsmuseum for updates on museum activities.