Ashes For Trees
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Ashes For Trees


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"Verve Vertu showcases local talent in annual arts show Read more:"

Verve Vertu art studio's fourth annual variety show and art exhibit features a tapestry of talent this year, intertwining more local artists than ever.

Participation in today's show, which takes place at Downtown Arts in Wilkes-Barre, has increased from previous years to include new organizations, said Arts Coordinator Gwen Harleman. The show's theme, "Interweaving Creativity," reflects the wide range of talent coming together to make this event possible.

"That's what its always been about," she said.

White Haven State Center, Keystone Day Options and ArtWorks Gallery and Studio teamed up with Verve Vertu to showcase pieces by artists with special needs. About 40 artists are involved in the show, Harleman said.

One piece by Keystone Day Options, a papier-mâché box of crayons displayed near the building's entrance, sets the tone for the exhibit with a quote - one crayon makes a great color, but together they make a masterpiece.

"You really, truly can do nothing alone," Harleman said.

The event starts with a variety show at 6 p.m., featuring musical and theatrical performances. Acts include Wilkes-Barre folk band Ashes for Trees, dulcimer player Ed Cole of Clarks Summit, Whirligig Hoopers and Universal Players, led by Kathleen Godwin, who will perform "Singin' in the Rain."

Artwork will be on display during a reception following the variety show.

Verve Vertu, the art studio of the Deutsch Institute, hosts the annual art exhibit and variety show in March in recognition of Intellectual Disabilities Awareness Month. The Deutsch Institute develops and manages leisure and recreation activities for people with disabilities and special needs in Northeastern Pennsylvania., 570-821-2066

Read more:
- Citizen's Voice

"Showcase puts local music center stage"

By Cecilia Baress (Features Editor)
Published: January 26, 2012

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Katie Kelly of Wilkes-Barre band Ashes for Trees

Musician Katie Kelly is putting original songs front and center at a singer/ songwriter showcase on Friday.

The Wilkes-Barre songwriter worked with Adam Weitzenkorn, owner of Scranton art gallery New Visions Studio, to produce a night of original music away from the bustling local bar scene. Her goal was to create a friendly environment for musicians to play their original songs uninhibited by noisy, inattentive crowds.

Kelly drew inspiration for the event from a poetry night hosted by Scranton's Vintage Theater. She was particularly impressed by the rapt attention the audience paid to poets and performers.

"I really thought that would be awesome to do for singer songwriters," she said.

She said she also hopes the event will help create a stronger network between local musicians, providing a source of feedback, admiration and respect.

"We're really hoping it will catch on and be a haven for singers and songwriters to go," she said.

Performers at the all ages acoustic show include Kelly, Charles Havira, Maria Dubiel, Ed Randazzo, Rafael Pimentel of Silhouette Lies, Chuck Silsby of The Way and Donnie Kirchner. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7. There is a $5 cover.

Read more:
- Citizen's Voice

"Singer/Songwriter showcase in Scranton at New Visions Studio and Gallery"

There is an undeniable truth that the written word is important. Whether it’s bound in a book or sung out to a crowd, words usually have a way of affecting people. That is why instead of writing a book review, or sharing what new novel is coming out this week, your dear Scranton Book Examiner wants to bring your attention to an event happening right in our city. This Friday, January 27th, New Visions Studio and Gallery in Scranton will be showcasing the second in a series of shows of singer/songwriters from all over NEPA.

What’s different about this show is that it focuses more on what the song is saying instead of how loud, or popular the music is. These songs are being taken down to a minimum with an acoustic guitar, and vocals, so the artist can fully hear and most importantly feel the words of a song, and hopefully take something away from it.
“The showcase features people not only from the typical Americana and Folk Genre but also from Progressive Metal and Indie Rock,” says songwriter Katie Kelly from the Wilkes-Barre band Ashes for Tress. “When the Pixies were asked to shed their electric guitars for acoustic instruments at the Newport Folk Festival, people were a little confused, however, the songs themselves were so strong they could stand on the own --- stripped down, bare...” Ms. Kelly worked in conjunction with gallery owner Adam Weitzenkorn, to bring about this wonderful night of music, that emphasizes the fact that music is not just about the melody, but how powerful and important lyrics are to create the perfect song.

This showcase will feature multiple artists including: Charles Havira, Maria Dubiel, Ed Randazzo, Rafael Pimentel (of the band Silhouette Lies), Chuck Silsby (of the band TheWay), Donnie Kirchner, and Ms. Kelly as well.

There is a $5 dollar cover charge, and the doors open at 6pm, and the show starts at 7pm. -

"Ashes for Trees Performs"

Video of Ashes for Trees performing "Still" on TV - WBRE PALive!

"New Ashes for Trees EP honors local roots"

New Ashes for Trees EP honors local roots
by Cecelia Barress (Features Editor) 11/17/2011
“The Wilkes-Barre EP,” a new release by local band Ashes for Trees, pays tribute to the place the band members call home.
Singer and songwriter Kathleen Kelly sings about family, friends and familiar surroundings in the title track “Wilkes-Barre,” a folksy ballad about how the good things about the area far outweigh the bad. Kelly and bassist Vince Insalaco were both born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, she said.
“The area is economically depressed, but when it comes down to it, it’s not a bad area to live in,” she said.
The band will release “The Wilkes-Barre EP” on Saturday during a show at Bart & Urby’s on Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. The show starts at 9 p.m. and features supporting acts Charles Havira Band and Chuck Silsby of The Way. They will also play a music showcase tonight at River Street Jazz Cafe with Ol’ Cabbage and Hometown Heros. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $5.
Ashes for Trees started as a collaboration between Kelly and drummer Conrad Miller. The group released its debut EP in August 2010. Insalaco, a professor at Wilkes University and Kelly’s guitar instructor, started playing with the band after sitting in on bass during live shows.
Miller left the band to focus on work and school, but not before contributing to “The Wilkes-Barre EP.” He co-wrote two songs on the album and also played drums. Releasing an EP featuring Miller’s work provided a sense of closure, Kelly said. She plans to move forward as a solo artist and continue work on a full-length album due in the spring.
“I don’t really want to rush it,” she said. “It’s kind of a lot to take on.
The band tried for a more organic sound on their second EP, avoiding heavily overdubbed vocals and electric guitars, Kelly said. They dabbled in different instrumentation, incorporating banjo, mandolin and melodica with acoustic guitar, bass and drums. Kelly also recognized a Celtic influence on an instrumental song “Beagan Agus A Ra Go Maith (Say Little But Say It Well),” named for an Irish proverb.
Kelly enjoys performing live, even when she’s performing alone. The solo shows have helped her overcome stage fright, she said.
“There’s nothing to hide behind. When you play solo, all eyes are on you.”
One of the most thrilling stage experiences she has had recently was playing a show with MiZ during the “Listen Local” concert series hosted by Electric City at the Scranton Cultural Center.
Singer and guitarist Mike Mizwinski and keyboardist Freeman White joined the band for Grateful Dead cover “I Know You Rider.”
“There was a not a single element of that night that was not amazing,” Kelly said.
A live recording of the performance is available online at, along with the band’s first EP and other live recordings. The site will also stream the new EP after its release, Kelly said.

Read more:

- Citizen's Voice

"Earfull: Paying tribute to their roots Ashes for Trees releases ‘The Wilkes-Barre EP’"

Ashes for Trees releases 'The Wilkes-Barre EP'L ike other musicians who have been embracing the release of digital music, Wilkes-Barre folk group Ashes for Trees is treating their new release, The Wilkes-Barre EP, as a pre-cursor to their debut full length album.

The band has been busy recording with producer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Loftus at J.L. Studios in Wyoming. Since December, the ongoing sessions have yielded between 16 and 18 songs, though the band felt the time was right to release a few as an EP.

"We've been playing this particular batch of songs for about a year," said Katie Kelly, vocalist/guitarist and mandolin player. "We were able to pick up a lot of feedback before we laid them down in the studio."

Kelly, the primary songwriter for the band, also contributed vocals, guitar, banjo, melodica, harmonica, ukulele, and piano. Conrad Miller played drums, while Kelly's former guitar teacher, Vince Insalaco, was featured on bass and guitar. Loftus added piano and some guitar.

"We sort of went overboard on our last album with the physical release, so this time we're trying to save on the plastic," she said. "A lot of people aren't buying physical CDs any more." Still, the band plans to bring along physical copies at the release show on Nov. 19 at Bart and Urby's in Wilkes-Barre.

Many of the sounds and topics are reflections of living in the 570. Kelly chose to attend Wilkes-University when many of her friends were attending colleges elsewhere.

"We have a good local arts scene with an underground network of poets, artists and musicians," she said. "You can find what you're looking for here." She chose the title of the EP as a way to pay tribute to her local roots and the local success she's cultivated with Ashes for Trees.

The song "Wilkes-Barre" deals with the struggle of moving away, while "We Were Blue" lifts from polka music with a unique blend of ukulele and melodica. An instrumental entitled "Beagán agus a rá go maith," has a Celtic feel, reminiscent of her Irish heritage, and actually means, "Say little, but say it well."

The band is heading back to the studio soon, though it will be without Miller, who is leaving the band in order to pursue his education. Kelly and Insalaco will be on the lookout for his successor, and hope to finish up their debut full-length album for a spring release.

- jason lucarelli

Ashes for Trees will play Bart and Urby's on Nov. 19 with Charles Havira Band and Chuck Silsby (The Way). The show begins at 9 p.m. and tickets will be sold at the door. - Electric City/Diamond City

"Ashes for Trees makes dream a reality"

by Marie Burrell
Weekender Correspondent

We all have some kind of dream that motivates us in life. We want to be artists and doctors, astronauts and movie stars. We want a family, a career, lots of money and a home to call our own. No matter how small, it is still there, in the back of our mind, guiding us down the various paths we find in front of us. While some sit back, hoping that it comes true while they go about life as normal, others work day after day, dedicated to that spark, breathing life into it so it will no longer just be a dream — it will be reality.

For folk-rock band Ashes for Trees, the dream becomes more real every day as it prepares for the release of its second EP, “The Wilkes-Barre EP,” Tuesday, Nov. 22. To help promote it, the band will be hosting an album release party at Bart & Urby’s in Wilkes-Barre Saturday, Nov. 19 at 9 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Katie Kelly, frontwoman of Ashes for Trees, said she feels it is important for original music to be a part of the community, which is what will be available at the party, as well as on the upcoming album.

“Having arts involved in any community is a positive thing,” she said. “To have original music in this area, it provides people with a good outlet for creativity and also entertainment. I think the arts make the community feel alive. It makes the community feel human rather than it just being buildings and roads, policies and politicians.”

And Bart & Urby’s will be alive that night, featuring not only Ashes for Trees, but also the folk/roots-rock music of the Charles Havira Band and an acoustic set by Chuck Silsby and Shiny of TheWay.

Being original hits close to home for Kelly, who said she draws a lot of the inspiration for her music from NEPA, which is where she was born and raised. One of the songs on the EP, titled “Wilkes-Barre,” tells of the conflict between remaining home and moving away from the area.

“I think a lot of times when you’re first starting out writing, a lot of your works are autobiographical,” she said. “You take from your own experiences.”

Kelly said the band, which is named for a line in the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here,” is made up of her on vocals/guitar and other instruments, Conrad Miller on drums and Vince Insalaco on bass/guitar. Also appearing on the EP are Joe Loftus on guitar/keyboard/bass, Aaron McCurdy on banjo/mandolin/vocals and Terry Childers on vocals.

She also said a lot of the influence for the band’s sound is drawn from having grown up listening to Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, as well as more contemporary musicians such as Strand of Oaks and Chris Pureka.

As the music comes alive, Kelly said her dream does, too. With a full-length album tentatively due in the spring and other appearances, including an original showcase at the River Street Jazz Cafe Thursday, Nov. 17, it’s another step forward.

“I would love it if my day job was to be a musician,” she said. “I pursue that goal. I work and go to school, but I spend an hour or two a day trying to make that dream come true.” - The Weekender

"Earfull: Listen Local series intimate, varied"

The first installment of the Scranton Cultural Center’s "Listen Local" series will take place on Oct. 7 in Shopland Hall featuring main act, MiZ and its opener, Ashes for Trees. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10. First Friday artwork will be displayed in the lobby from 6-8 p.m.

Jessica Lucas, associate facility and technical director at Scranton Cultural Center (SCC), says that the genesis of the eclectic local music series began last year when SCC decided to add an opening act to its comedy series. "It provided a legitimate launching point for a series built entirely around local original music," she says.

Jessica led the search in collecting local bands to headline and support, holding a contest to choose the groups that would reach across a broad spectrum of genres. A review panel handled the process of choosing the acts, taking suggestions for acts from patrons, staff members, and other local musicians. After the six headliners were chosen, 12 bands were chosen through a contest for possible opening acts.

A poll was conducted by SCC to narrow this group of 12 down to six, which were then paired up with the headliners.

Stefanie Bush, patron and education outreach manager, was responsible for gathering the artwork from local artists to be displayed before the shows.

"Ultimately we want to put credit where it is due, with the local artists who are creating great art and music," says Jessica. "We wanted to create and provide a great way to cap off an evening downtown by offering the chance to listen to some great music in a beautiful venue."

The history of the beautiful Scranton Cultural Center dates back to the 1930s. Famed architect, Raymond Hood designed the SCC building. Hood was also part of the team that designed Radio City Music Hall. Perhaps Hood’s best known work is Rockefeller Center

Shopland Hall is only one of the event spaces in the historic venue. There is also the traditional theater, a ballroom, and a "junior" ballroom. "Shopland Hall is made for shows like this because of the set up," says Stefanie. The hall holds between 300-450 people, allowing the musicians and audience members to share in the intimacy of the room.

The showcase promises to reach across the divide, bringing in a range of sounds like MiZ’s Americana and country-tinged rock, Lagor’s psych pop, the bluesy funk and three-part harmonies of Family Animals, and the self-described Jamtronica-laden techno-fusion, acid jazz of Rogue Chimp.

Aayu (also known as Mark Ciccone) combines rock with hip-hop and will open for Red, Blue, Green in March. Aayu’s music is influenced by early 90s hip-hop, like Wu Tang Clan, Notorious B.I.G., and the Beastie Boys. He refuses to use a DJ when performing live, playing guitar on most of his songs while backed by a drummer.

"I’m still fairly new to the area, but I have heard nothing but good things about the Scranton Cultural Center," says Aayu. "I’m looking forward to experiencing it firsthand."

For many of the acts in the "Listen Local "series line up, the history surrounding the Scranton Cultural Center means as much to them as the opportunity to play there.

Mac Jackson, from Harmony Constant, who will open for Bobby Davis and the Smartest Man in January, performed plays with the Church Mouse Players years before he formed Harmony Constant with his wife, Cindy. "The Scranton Cultural Center has always had a wonderful mix of local comfort as well as class. Not just from the beautiful décor but from the employees who seem to know they are part of enriching the city," he says. Most of Harmony Constant’s songs are story songs in the singer-songwriter vein, with subtle references to local spots throughout the city.

Grip of the Gods, a local Tunkhannock band creating a hybrid of rock genres, began playing shows in and around the area before finally settling in Philadelphia. On coming back to the area in April as one of the headliners, vocalist and guitarist Richard Barni says, "To have the opportunity to play at such an establishment, in a place we consider home, is both personally and professionally gratifying as artists."

Kathleen Kelly, from Ashes for Trees, who will open for MiZ this Friday, received rides from her father to the venue to see shows before she had her driver’s license.

"I saw Moe and Ratdog there," she says. "Buildings like the Scranton Cultural Center just aren’t being built anymore with such ornate architecture and beauty."

For MiZ, who just released their debut album "East Hope Avenue," the show almost seemed inevitable. Front man Mike Mizwinski spent time in the box office as a toddler, riding his tricycle up and down the long hall, on the days when his grandmother brought him along to work. Laughing, he says, "Naturally, it’s always been a dream of mine to play there."

For Jessica and Stefanie, the reaction to the performances will be as important as the performances themselves. Stefanie says, "Without the support of the community, it would be difficult to keep things like this going."

Jessica adds, "We would love to bring back and expand this series year after year and continue to bring in different musicians from the area from as many different musical genres as possible." - Electric City/Diamond City

"New music series announced"

The Scranton+Cultural+Center%22>Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple is kicking off their new Electric Dity Listen Local Music Series with the talented local bands MiZ and Ashes for Trees on October 7, when these musicians will perform all original music on the fourth floor in Shopland Hall.

Local band MiZ will perfom on October 7th at The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m.. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by visiting the Box Office, by calling 570.344.1111or 1.800.745.3000, or by visiting

A cash bar and lite fare will be available the night of the show. - Abington Journal

"Ashes for Trees due to release their new EP – Wilkes-Barre"

by Dana & Bruce Zimmerman
PA Music
November 2011

The band Ashes for Trees formed in the Fall of 2009 by singer/songwriter Katie Kelly and drummer Conrad Miller. The two got their start playing very sparse arrangements of a variety of cover songs. Due to Kelly’s electric guitar and Miller’s drum kit being in disrepair the two played acoustic sets out of necessity. They began forming their early songs around the minimalism of voice, guitar, and hand drums. It soon led them down the path of creating folk influenced music.

When they went into the studio to create their first CD, Never Rested Well, they were still unsure of the direction they wanted to take their sound. It took completing the first CD to realize what they were to become. Upon the release of that album, classical guitar professor Vince Insalaco joined the band on bass. The songs developed further into the folk genre and Kelly never switched back to the electric guitar.

Now, Ashes for Trees will be releasing their stunning new EP “Wilkes-Barre” on November 22nd. The Folk/ Rock/ Country/ Americana band from Wilkes-Barre, PA tells us the music on the new work is grounded in the scenes from the area.

The title track is rooted in the area of Northeastern Pennsylvania where the group is based. It is a loving narrative of life in a small city that keeps calling you back for a “a day or two or a year.” It has a county rock feel from the 70’s steeped in nostalgia about family, friends and the experiences of youth. “There’s a great music scene and rich culture here if you’re looking for it,” Kelly is quick to point out. “It’s not just an economically depressed region, it’s not just a corrupt city – it’s home.”

The song “We Were Blue” was also influenced by Wilkes-Barre, with its sound “accidentally” influenced by the local polka music, says Kelly. “The blending of ukulele and melodica produced a sound subtly similar, but I liked it and thought it was appropriate considering the album’s ties to the area.”

“Bless Me Father” has a strong bluegrass almost gospel direction, in the story of a fatherless girl looking for redemption in spite of her situation. The song is haunting in a cathartic kind of way.

The new album was produced at J. L. Studios in Wyoming, PA by Joe Loftus and Katie Kelly. Kelly performs on vocals, guitar, banjo, melodica, harmonica, ukulele, and piano, with Conrad Miller on drums and Vince Insalaco on bass and guitar. Additional musicians appearing on the EP include Joe Loftus on guitar, keyboard, and bass, Terry Childers on vocals and Aaron McCurdy on banjo, mandolin, and vocals.

Kelly has been working in the studio for over a year, amassing a large collection of original material. She has been working on the first Ashes for Trees full-length CD tentatively scheduled for release in the Spring of 2012.

They plan to tour to support the upcoming release. They will be playing the River Street Jazz Cafe on November 17th with Ol’ Cabbage, Suicaudio, and Hometown Heroes. There will be additional dates in the Wilkes-Barre area, and the tour will include stops in Philadelphia, New York, and Vermont.

An album release party will be held Saturday, November 19th at 9:00pm at Bart & Urby’s in downtown Wilkes-Barre with supporting acts Charles Havira Band and Chuck Silsby of the band The Way.

“The Wilkes-Barre” EP will be available through iTunes and It will also be available at Gallery of Sound, Barnes & Noble and at live shows. Ashes for Trees’ tour itinerary is available at

**Album artwork by Katie Kelly. Photo by Melanie Boisseau from New Visions Studios. -

"Their music's on display"

By Julie Imel

Published: November 23, 2010

It's been a year of tremendous growth for folk rock/indie duo Ashes for Trees. With their first album now complete and new gigs on the horizon, Katie Kelly and Conrad Miller are keeping the creative momentum going, continuing to learn new instruments, write new material and always staying in tune with the people and places around them that serve as great inspiration.

EC/DC recently caught up with Kelly to talk about the new album, Never Rested Well, and what's next for the Wilkes-Barre duo that complements each other so well. Miller (drums, keyboards and percussion) and Kelly (vocals, guitar, bass and banjo) have been playing together for about six years after meeting when they were students at Wilkes University. They played in Canadaman and Autumn Jasper before forming their own band, and now they play regularly at both Barnes & Noble locations in Wilkes-Barre as well as venues such as Riverside Café and Bart & Urby's, both in Wilkes-Barre, and The Vintage Theater in Scranton, to name a few.

You'll have a chance to hear them live and get in tune with your artistic side as they play an acoustic show Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at New Visions Studio & Gallery in Taylor. Kelly said we can expect the performance to be "intimate and totally acoustic." She and Miller are looking forward to playing while guests enjoy photography on display by Boston artist Ariel Kessler, peruse collectibles and crafts for sale, and perhaps join in live observational drawing during the show. Marking the gallery's first musical event, Ashes for Trees will perform along with two other bands, Just Blush and A Fire with Friends. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Devoted to writing and playing original music, Kelly and Miller collaborate on everything.

"Sometimes we get lucky and we can sit down and write a song in one sitting and it's complete," Kelly said. "And sometimes, I'll strum something and think, 'Oh, that sounds good,' and the lyrics just flow out. But other times I'll write something and I'll get one sentence, and then I'll be stuck for weeks. Then I'll go to Conrad, and he can just finish it."

Other songs have been generated from Kelly setting one of Miller's poems to music. Like snowflakes, no two songs are ever alike, and no two songs are ever created the same way.

Drawing upon their own life experience, and undoubtedly influenced by the work they do in the social services field, Miller and Kelly often choose subject matter based on relationships and social issues. As Kelly knows, stories, and songs can be found everywhere as long as you're open to looking for them. The song "Still" is a perfect example. Kelly considers this to be a "lucky" song because its storyline came to her in a chance meeting of a charming, older couple.

"'Still' is one of our favorites and it's my best attempt at a love song," she said. "This couple spoke about how times were really tough at one point, but 40 years later, they're absolutely best friends. And what really got me was that the husband was telling the story, and he was this big, burly guy, real tough and gruff, and he said, 'Oh, my wife is my best friend,' and he teared up.

"I was so touched."

It's that kind of emotional connection that really comes through on Never Rested Well. With Kelly inspired by the sounds of Bob Dylan, Ani Difranco, Chris Pureka and Peter, Paul and Mary, and Miller's affinity for folk music as well as classic rock, you'll notice influences of these artists throughout the album.

"Feeling the strong emotional connection to songs makes me feel human and alive," Kelly said. "But also, on a less serious level, I love doing it. I love making music. I love working with music. I love discovering new bands, and it really makes me happy."

- julie imel

Ashes for Trees will perform an acoustic show on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at New Visions Studio & Gallery, 11 S. Keyser Ave., Taylor, along with Just Blush and A Fire with Friends. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information on Ashes for Trees, visit them on MySpace at and find them on Facebook. For more information on New Visions Studio & Gallery, visit
- Electric City/ Diamond City Magazine

"Ashes for Trees relishes its roots"

Home // Music

MUSIC ON THE MENU: Ashes For Trees relishes its roots

by Alan K. Stout
Music Columnist

Ashes For Trees will never be confused for drama queens. The local rock-folk duo likes to write about real life and in a matter-of-fact way. They use their own lives, the lives of friends and the backdrop of life in NEPA as a muse, and they’ve captured those images and sentiments on their new CD, “Never Rested Well.”

The duo consists of Katie Kelly and Conrad Miller. “Never Rested Well,” which is their first album, was released in August and was recorded at JL Studios in Wyoming. Kelly, 26, sings and plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and bass. Miller, 25, sings and plays drums, percussion and keyboards. Tracks on the album include “Still,” “At Nineteen,” “You Say” and “Swept Under The Rug.”

Kelly says she and Miller had played together in two local bands: Canadaman and Autumn Jasper. Ultimately, however, they decided to branch off on their own.

“It’s tough to find people to do original music,” says Kelly. “We also wanted to do more acoustic music. The last band was more electronic, with dance beats and heavier stuff, and we wanted to do something closer to the folk music that we listen to.”

Kelly names Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Iron and Wine and Chris Pureka as influences.

“What actually got me playing guitar is when my mother took me to see Joan Baez at the Kirby Center,” she says. “I was captivated by how simple the instrumentation was. Initially, she was onstage, and it was just her and a guitar, and I was really impressed with how much she captivated an audience without a lot of the flash of the rock bands that I was into at the time. I also saw that a lot when I was introduced to Joni Mitchell.”

The duo’s debut CD draws on those influences yet also showcases its own creativity. Both Kelly and Miller say the key to their songwriting is simple: keep it real.

“When we’re writing together, we have a tough time writing regular, happy kind of love songs,” says Kelly. “With folk music, it’s very lyric-based, and being exposed to a lot of that made me realize the importance of lyrics and the importance of telling a story when Conrad and I are writing a song together. I’ve never been able to write a really romantic or dramatic love song. I tried, but only churned out cheesy cliches that I had no connection to. I’m more drawn to the boring, enduring, or ‘I love you even though you got fat’ love.”

Miller says that songwriting duties are split about 60/40, with Kelly penning a bit more of the lyrics. Sometimes, he says, she’ll start a song and he’ll finish it, or vice-versa. As for how their music connects with others, he admits he’s never given it much thought.

“To be honest, I usually don’t think about other people at all,” he says. “What do I hope they get out of it? I hope they enjoy it. Maybe the lyrics will mean something to them. I don’t even know why I write. I don’t even write thinking about music. It’s mostly just thinking about words. It’s just something that I do.”

He elaborates on the meaning behind the song “Anything,” which can be found on the new album.

“It’s about freedom in a way, indifference in another way, and realizing how the things you have or have done have made you miserable,” he says. “It’s surrender to the fates, or the sour grapes of Aesop’s Fables, or freedom from desire, or acceptance that you don’t get what you want, or maybe just the rant of someone down in the dumps.”

Ashes For Trees were regulars at the former I Brewed It My Way in Wyoming and also acknowledge the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains in the liner notes its album. The duo has also played the Vintage Theater in Scranton and The Riverside Cafe in Wilkes-Barre. On Nov. 21, they’ll perform at a battle of the bands at Bart & Urby’s in Wilkes-Barre and on Dec. 10 they’ll play at the New Visions Studio & Gallery in Taylor.

The album is available at Gallery of Sound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and CD Baby and iTunes.

“We’re really proud of it and we’re really happy with it,” says Kelly. “We had a lot of fun during the process and we really grew as musicians.” - Weekender Magazine

"Ashes for Trees blends folk, country on album"

Ashes for Trees blends folk, country on album
By Cecilia Baress/ Staff Writer
Published: October 28, 2010

A chance meeting five years ago at a karaoke event at Applebees's restaurant brought the members of Ashes for Trees together, and they've been making music ever since.

Mutual friends introduced Katie Kelly, 25, of Wilkes-Barre to drummer Conrad Miller, and they two started playing together in a different group. When that project fell through, they stuck together.

"We had a chemistry," Kelly said.

The meeting came at a crucial time for Kelly, who had almost given up on guitar after playing cover songs solo at local bars and venues. She first picked up the guitar about nine years ago, after making a deal with her parents that if she took piano lessons first, she could take guitar lessons as well.

The duo, who got their band name from Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," recently released their first album, which they recorded independently at a studio in Wyoming.

Kelly sings and plays guitar and banjo on the album. The band's music sounds like folk with a little bit of a country feel, she said.

Both members contributed lyrics - Kelly said when she starts with an idea and two lines, Miller can finish the song.

"He's just one of those people who can be very prolific and can write with ease," she said.

The band will perform on Saturday at Barnes and Noble, 421 Arena Hub Plaza, Wilkes-Barre. Hear music at - Citizen's Voice

"Ashes for Trees to Release Debut EP"



Wilkes-Barre, PA, October -- Ashes for Trees has just released their debut EP Never Rested Well in late August. The folk-rock duo, made up of Katie Kelly and Conrad Miller, wrote all the songs on the EP and drew much of the inspiration from scenes of life in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Relationships are a major theme addressed on the EP. “I've never been able to write a really romantic or dramatic love song,” says Kelly. “ I tried, but only churned out cheesy clichés that I had no connection to -- I'm more drawn to the boring, enduring, or ‘I love you even though you got fat' love.”

A track on the EP entitled Anything is an angry song, says Miller. “For me the song is about freedom in a way, indifference in another way, and realizing how the things you have or have done have made you miserable,” he says. “It's a surrender to the fates, or the sour grapes of Aesop's fables, or freedom from desire, acceptance that we don't get what we want, or maybe just the rant of someone down in the dumps.”

The title of the EP originated when the band first started playing together as a duo after working together in other bands. “Conrad and I spent a while hopping from genre to genre, never finding our sound, trying to please others, or trying to fit in with the heavy bands playing with us at a show,” says Kelly. “When we went off and started playing as Ashes for Trees the song Never Rested Well was the first one we got down and the first one that we really liked playing. After years of being lost we had finally our direction.”

Ashes for Trees plans to tour to support the upcoming release and is working on adding some additional musicians. “We've really only played out as a duo, so when we were in the studio, the songs changed so much because we weren't limited by our size,” says Kelly. “After we finished the EP, Conrad and I decided to team up with more musicians to get a full band sound.”

Never Rested Well is available for sale at iTunes,,, and at shows.
- God is in the TV


Never Rested Well EP
The Wilkes-Barre EP





The band Ashes for Trees formed in the Fall of 2009 by singer/songwriter Katie Kelly and drummer Conrad Miller. The two got their start playing very sparse arrangements of a variety of cover songs. Due to Kelly’s electric guitar and Miller’s drum kit being in disrepair the two played acoustic sets out of necessity. They began forming their early songs around the minimalism of voice, guitar, and hand drums. It soon led them down the path of creating folk influenced music.

When they went into the studio to create their first CD, Never Rested Well, they were still unsure of the direction they wanted to take their sound. It took completing the first CD to realize what they were to become. Upon the release of that album, classical guitar professor Vince Insalaco joined the band on bass. The songs developed further into the folk genre and Kelly never switched back to the electric guitar.
Playing with Insalaco also allowed the group to develop a more cohesive sound. They began to develop their identity; their new material soon followed the same path. Less than a year after their first CD was release, the band went into the studio once again with a clearer vision. Their most recent release, The Wilkes-Barre EP, is a much more accurate representation of the group. Kelly remarks that it’s, “a much more organic sound, there are much less over dubs and lot more acoustic instruments”.
The trio has had a very busy schedule since the release of their second album. Most notably, as winners of the Electric City Listen Local contest, they had the opportunity to open up for national recording artist MiZ at the Scranton Cultural Center. They also had the pleasure of showcasing at the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg.
Ashes for Trees is planning to tour in late June 2012 and are continuing their work with Joe Loftus on their next full length album.