Cairn to Cairn
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Cairn to Cairn

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States | SELF

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cairn to Cairn follows the trail markers for its Celtic-influenced sound"

One of the first things to learn about
Ann Arbor-based acoustic trio Cairn
to Cairn is how to correctly
pronounce its name.
It sounds like C-ar-n, not C-air-n,
said co-founder Terry Farmer,
gently correcting a novice’s mistake.
“I looked it up, it's an upside-down
<??> schwa sound, pronounced like
Cairn to Cairn — which blends
Celtic, folk, world and original music
— is the trio of vocalist-guitarist
Farmer, vocalist-flutist Kelly
McDermott and bassist Rob
Crozier. The members of Cairn to
Cairn play a mix of original songs as
well as more traditional tunes that
they’ve rearranged. “A cairn is like a trail marker on a path; you can go back to it if you want, but for the most part we keep
going forward. That’s the symbolism of the name,” Farmer added.
The band has been busy touring in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, has enjoyed several appearances in
Chicago and has also branched out into Canada. They play a holiday concert at The Ark Sunday night.
Farmer said Cairn to Cairn’s sound is influenced by artists such as English folk singer Maddy Prior and
the Irish group Solas, as well as Cairn to Cairn’s own wide range of musical backgrounds.
“I grew up on rock and roll,” Farmer said. “We all have kind of a classical music background. Rob has a
pretty wide jazz background — his father is a big-band player. Kelly is completely immersed and
knowledgeable about classical — and I am too, but I have more rock roots.”
Cairn to Cairn
Who: Vocalist-guitarist Terry
Farmer, vocalist-flutist Kelly
McDermott and bassist Rob Crozier.
What: Ann Arbor trio plays Celtic,
folk, and world music.
Where: The Ark, 316 S. Main St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12.
How much: $15. Tickets available
from The Ark box office (with no
service charge); Michigan Union
Ticket Office, 530 S. State St.; Herb
David Guitar Studio, 302 E. Liberty
St.; or
All three members of Cairn to Cairn, formed in late 2008, are Michiganians. Farmer grew up in Livonia,
lived in Los Angeles for number of years and went to school at the University of Denver. He is also
executive director of the Ann Arbor-based Great Lakes Performing Artists Associates, has been
involved with the Ann Arbor’s Radio Free Bacon program, played two years as lead guitarist with surf
legends Jan & Dean and led a group called The Bead Band.
McDermott, originally from Bay City, attended Michigan State, earned post-graduate degrees from
Temple University in Philadelphia, and worked and studied with members of the New York
Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra for 14 years. Crozier, who hails from Midland and is now
at the University of Michigan School of Music, was a member of the local band Crowbar Hotel and has
played with Tito Sompa as well as many other Ann Arbor mainstay musicians.
The traditional music the threesome plays comes from a
variety of sources. Once they’ve chosen something, then
group members see how best to make it their own.
“We try to find music that we can make sound really
beautiful to us,” said Farmer. “Initially, Kelly really spent a
lot of time looking through libraries for songs — (she’d) play
the melody and see what they were about.”
The process, he said, allowed them to examine each song
and decide how it could fit in their repertoire. “We’d look at it
and decide what we could do, starting with rhythm,
harmonically, vocally, texture … or let’s not even have a
guitar, let’s not have a bass — the sky’s the limit.”
Although a show this time last year at The Ark included
several musical guests, Cairn to Cairn will play solo on
“This year will just be us,” Farmer said. “I was a drummer, Rob is a really good guitar player. Kelly’s
singing and doing some percussion. We all can do a number of different things, that’s what we are
focusing on now. (We’re working on) what kind of textural changes we can make to make our tone
really beautiful collectively and individually, especially vocally.”
The band is working on another CD (their most recent disc was released in 2009) for a possible
summer 2011 release, one that will continue its growth as a group. “We’ve come a long way since that
one,” Farmer observed. “It’s fun to think about, all the things we’ve learned and all the things we can do
on the next one.” - By: Roger LeLievre - - Dec 8, 2010

"Celebrate the season"

Ann Arbor’s own Cairn to Cairn appears at the Ark on Sunday, Dec 12, at 7:30 pm. Originally formed in 2007 as a
classical duo, it soon became a trio venturing into the worlds of traditional music, particularly the classic Celtic songs
and tunes they feature. Each of the members brings a distinct musical personality to the mix. Kelly McDermott has had
a stellar career as a symphonic flutist throughout the US and Europe, which also afforded her the chance to learn many
Celtic songs at the sources, fueling the basic folk direction the band has taken. Terry Farmer is the group’s composer
and resident guitar god, having played rock guitar in both his own band and with Jan and Dean, but he has also earned a
degree in classical guitar. His songwriting garnered him recognition as a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival
earlier this decade, and he adds some modern flair to the raw material of traditional song. Bassist/percussionist Rob
Crozier adds his own interest in jazz to the mix, with his sense of improvisation and synergy. Together they make a
fascinating and involving mosaic of all these styles and influences. Tickets are $15. - Current Magazine (Twila Price) - Ann Arbor, MI - December 2010

"Handy grad returns as accomplished musician"

BAY CITY — Kelly McDermott is extending an
invitation to her swim and track coaches from T.L.
Handy High School to stop by when she and her
group Cairn to Cairn blow into the State Theatre
for a Nov. 13 performance.
She wouldn’t mind if Handy alumni and members
of First Presbyterian Church popped in as well.
“I was born and raised in Bay City,” she said. “I’m
reaching out to people I knew when I lived there.”
Since leaving her hometown, McDermott spent 17
years in Philadelphia before heading to Ann Arbor
to raise her children. That’s also where she
connected with Rob Crozier and Terry Farmer to form the group Cairn to Cairn. Starting out in 2007 as a classical
flute-guitar duo, McDermott now describes the music as folk Celtic fusion.
“It’s not traditional jigs and reels,” she said. “We find old ballads from the
British Isles — Wales, Ireland, England, Scotland, some may have been
heard before — but not the way we do it. Some have never been heard
because they are so obscure. We just make them ours, texturize them.
“We are a tight three-part harmony, which is unique to us because we all
have classical training,” she said.
McDermott has three classical degrees, performing on the East Coast as a
professional flutist and as a teacher. After traveling around the world
performing, McDermott has settled down in her home state teaching music,
being principal flutist with the Bijou and touring with Cairn to Cairn playing
the flute and doing vocals.
Composer, guitarist and vocalist Farmer has been performing since he was a
teen with his father and brothers. He also spent two years with surf legends Jan & Dean, as well as performing with
his own band, The Bead Band.
On bass and percussion is Crozier, who has performed throughout southeast Michigan, and is completing a degree
in jazz studies at the University of Michigan.
Together they perform what McDermott describes as very powerful music with definite Celtic overtones and
“We’ve been seriously performing for about a year,” McDermott said. “That time has been like a freight train. We’ve
been booked everywhere. When we played in Ottawa, we were invited to play in Chicago at a folk music sing line.
We had hardly put our instruments down when Rich Warren said, ‘Come play on my show.’ ” Warren hosts “The
Midnight Special” over WFMT in Chicago.
This is the group’s first time performing at Bay City’s State Theatre.
“We’ll be performing stuff off our new CD and other new material,” McDermott said. “It’s all very original.” - - Bay City, MI - By Pati LaLonde - Thursday, November 04, 2010

"ANN ARBOR: Musical trio Cairn to Cairn to perform holiday concert at The Ark"

Musical trio Cairn to Cairn will make their second appearance Dec. 12 at The Ark in Ann Arbor during a holiday concert.
The trio, which features vocalist-guitarist Terry Farmer, vocalist-flutist Kelly McDermott and bassist Rob Crozier performs Celtic,
folk-style music blended with rock and roll and improvisation.
"Our name implies that we are constantly moving and shifting -- a cairn is a wayside marker, usually formed from a pile of
stones -- and over the three plus years we've been an ensemble we've moved through a changing landscape," Farmer said.
"All three of us have a wide range of training and professional musical experience ranging from folk clubs and festivals, to highcaliber
chamber/orchestral music, jazz studies, original music and loud-and-proud rock and roll.
"We enjoy creating unique arrangements of songs we think are really interesting or hit us the right way. We draw from the music
we love which includes Celtic, folk and classical."
Cairn to Cairn is originally from Ann Arbor, and they are excited about bringing their show back to The Ark.
"This is our second headline appearance at The Ark and since our last visit we've been way up into Canada, traversed
Michigan, made a few out-of-state trips and performed on a live one-hour show on a large public radio station in Chicago,
WFMT," Farmer said.
"We've also showcased and attended a couple fine arts and folk festival business conferences, which really opened our eyes to
a larger community.
"Last year at The Ark, we had several guests with us, including a string quartet, tabla player, a rhythm section and several
others. This year, we have been looking inward to our own skills and abilities to expand the tonal and instrumental palette that
the three of us can create.
"That's exciting to bring to our fans who have been with us along the way, and any to any new fans."
Cairn to Cairn will perform 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit
Jodie Mason can be reached at 429-7380 or - Heritage Newspapers - Monday, November 22, 2010 By Jodie Mason, A2 Journal

"Cairn to Cairn-"

In the fertile and rich cultural scene of Southeastern Michigan, there is an ensemble not only unique unto themselves, but one that stands out among those who play what might be termed Irish/Celtic acoustic music. Cairn To Cairn is a spirited group of musicians that combines traditional songs with modern day instrumental and vocal styles to create something very special. Spinning tales of victory and sorrow, love and regret, the trio reflects life in the great rural Midwest like few other similar combos since the burgeoning folk boom of the sixties. They may remind you of perhaps Peter, Paul & Mary meeting the Bothy Band or Clanaad, but the sounds you will hear have a distinct Michigan flavor. That feeling speaks to current day trials and tribulations or matters of the heart, then turns those woes around into a joyous presentation guaranteed to please and even titillate you. Bass player Rob Crozier keeps the bonnie bottom end moving right along with an optimism and free spirit that his band mates and audiences pick up right away. The soaring vocals of Kelly McDermott speak of heritage and custom, while her extraordinary flute playing suggests a classical background melded with songs of the woods and an ear for exotic ethnic elements. Terry Farmer was brought up in the style of mountain top singing, expressing himself clearly while playing a lithe and friendly acoustic guitar. He shapes the essence of Cairn To Cairn with an inward presence that is at peace, yet possessing an urgency to inform you how to fully live. Whether imparting wisdom beyond convention, how the conserving of nature is more important than ever, or imagining the simple act of watching clouds roll by, these three excellent musicians consistently touch hearts and souls. They can also rock out a bit, play northern sounds from Canada, go far west into the plains, adapt music of Native American Indians, travel to the further reaches of Scotland, dig deep into the blues, or jam in a fashion not unlike the best jazz musicians. Check out this band sometime soon and hear some truly charming, delightful music, while also being captured by their equally attractive personalities.

-Michael G. Nastos; All Music Guide, Cadence Magazine, WEMU-FM Host Emeritus
- All Music Guide


Cairn to Cairn - Cairn to Cairn EP
Cairn to Cairn - Cairn to Cairn

All tracks are currently played in a variety of radio contexts.




Oceana Folk Series - Hart Performing Arts Center - Hart, MI

Acoustic Renaissance Folk Series - Hinsdale, IL

Guy C. Meyers Memorial Band Shell - Ashland, OH

Guest Artist with The Bijou Orchestra - State Theater of Bay City

Aten Place - season finale - Boyne Falls, MI

Top of the Park debut - Ann Arbor, MI

Headline at the Ark with a Holiday Show

Headline at the State Theater of Bay City

Showcased at Arts Midwest Conference in Indianapolis, IN

Showcases at Ontario Council of Folk Festivals in Ottawa, ON


Two Way Street Coffee House series, Chicago.

Rich Warren's "Folkstage" program on WFMT Chicago.

"The Folk Show" on WNUR Chicago with Sue Kessel.

Lilfest at Bill's Blues in Evanston, Ill.

Performance as featured artists in the subscription series: "Emerald Isles" with the Bijou Orchestra.

Televised performance to an audience of 100,000 at the renowned Bay City Fireworks with the Bijou Orchestra.


Cairn to Cairn is an acoustic trio based in Ann Arbor, Michigan comprised of flutist/vocalist, Kelly McDermott, guitarist/singer, Terry Farmer, and bassist/percussionist/vocalist, Rob Crozier. Originally formed in 2007 as a classical flute and guitar duo, Cairn to Cairn soon expanded to begin their exploration into traditional folk music and beyond.

An amalgamation of three distinct musical personalities, Cairn to Cairn melds classical technique with rock ‘n’ roll, and folk songwriting with elements of improvised freedom. They each bring a high level of artistry and passionate energy to their performances, which are defined by their synergistic, and sophisticated approach to arranging traditional, and newly composed music. Never satisfied with the status quo, these talented musicians continue to pursue the next cairn.

Cairn to Cairn:
Kelly McDermott, flutist, vocals, percussion
Terry Farmer, guitar, vocals, composer
Rob Crozier, bass, vocals, percussion

Kelly McDermott, flutist, vocalist

A native of Michigan, Kelly McDermott began her flute study as a young child, eventually earning degrees in flute performance as a student of Murray Pannitz at Temple University in
Philadelphia. She worked for more than fourteen years on the East coast as a professional flutist, and as a teacher she nurtured prize winning students. Ms. McDermott’s musical journey as a flutist has taken her thoughout the U. S., Canada, the U.K., and Europe, performing in chamber ensembles, orchestra, festivals and master classes.
Ms. McDermott has returned to Michigan and resides in Ann Arbor where she continues to work as a symphonic flutist, is the principle flutist with the Bijou Orchestra, and maintains a
flute studio where she is now one of the most sought after teachers in southeastern Michigan.
Kelly has expanded her musical journey as a flutist to include a variety of other instruments, but has truly found her musical voice as she sings with Cairn to Cairn.

Terry Farmer, composer, guitarist, vocalist

Terry Farmer has been performing professionally since his teen years when he played in a family band with his father and brothers. Originally from the Detroit area, his musical career has taken him all over the United States, including two years as lead guitarist with surf legends Jan & Dean, and three years touring with his own rock and roll band, The Bead Band. After several years spent living in Los Angeles, in the 90’s Terry began the study of classical guitar, earning a Bachelors Degree in guitar performance at the University of Denver, and pursuing further study at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
In 2001 and 2003, Terry was honored as New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, and has subsequently received recognition at several additional festivals as a composer. He continues to perform at folk festivals as well as club and concert venues around the country.
Terry brings to Cairn to Cairn his broad range of musical experience, his elegant guitar playing, beautiful voice, and his gift for songwriting.

Rob Crozier, bassist, percussion, vocalist

Rob Crozier is a multi-instrumentalist residing in Ann Arbor and is in demand as a bassist all over the southeastern Michigan area. A master of many musical styles he fearlessly explores the
vanguard and traditional alike. His passion for improvisation has inspired him to create the radio series, “Music Is Freedom” which is performed live on University of Michigan radio station
Rob continues to study privately both classical and jazz technique, and is completing a degree in Jazz studies for double bass at the U of M as a student of Robert Hurst. Robs “spot on” sense of pitch, musicality and strong rhythmic integrity provide the essential foundation for Cairn to Cairn.

Notable Quotes

Cairn to Cairn makes a distinct and powerful impression wherever they perform. Their high level of artistry, charismatic manner,