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Runaway Home returns to the north country for two concerts of folksy, Americana sounds

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The Americana band Runaway Home returns to the north country this week and Lisa McCarter is breathing sighs of relief.

She recalls when Runaway Home made its first foray to New York, which included a stop at the Clayton Opera House last spring.

“Last year, when people said, ‘You are going to New York,’ automatically in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, no. Everybody is not going to like our music. They don’t know us,’” Ms. McCarter said Friday in a phone interview from her home in Nashville.

But when Runaway Home got to places like the Clayton Opera House, the band was surprised.

“The place was packed,” Ms. McCarter said. “I was so amazed. All of us just looked at each other and went ‘I can’t believe this place. They don’t know who we are and it’s packed.”

More and more people are coming to know Runaway Home and its folksy roots music. The band’s swing through New York state this time includes stops Thursday at Pickens Hall in Heuvelton and on Friday at Bella Brooke Vineyards in Hammond.

Ms. McCarter is a former member of the McCarters, an act of three sisters. In the late 1980s, the McCarters had three top 10 hits: “Timeless,” “True Love” and “The Gift,” which was the title track on their Warner Bros. album.

Ms. McCarter’s association with Runaway Home began with a hamburger in Kingston Springs, Tenn.

She stopped at the Filling Station restaurant with her husband and noticed an act called Culley and Elliott was about to go on stage.

“I told my husband that if they are really good, I’d like to stay and enjoy my hamburger and listen to them sing,” Ms. McCarter said.

She loved what she heard.

“When Mark (Elliott) and Gary (Culley) started to sing, it was grand,” Ms. McCarter said. “It brought back memories of when I was a child. They did songs by John Denver, John Prine, James Taylor and Harry Chapin and the list kept going on. I kept listening and thought, ‘I’d like to sing harmony for these guys.’”

She had to wait three more months for Mr. Elliott and Mr. Culley to return to the Filling Station. That’s when she introduced herself and invited herself to sing harmony with them.

“I said, ‘Let’s gather around the kitchen table and just sing some old songs we all grew up listening to,’” Ms. McCarter said.

The trio immediately clicked.

“It was like magic,” Ms. McCarter said. “The first time the guys started singing and I sang harmony, it fit so well. And that’s unusual when you are singing with somebody new — to blend like that right off the bat. The two songs I thought I’d sing with them turned into 45.”

Runaway Home released its self-titled debut album of original music written by Mr. Elliott and Mr. Culley in 2012.

Ms. McCarter said the album has been described as folksy and “rootsy.”

“I love the music, the melodies and the meaning of the songs,” Ms. McCarter said.

Mr. Elliott has been called the “troubadour” of Runaway Home. Before moving to Nashville, the Oklahoma native was a protégé of the legendary artist Tom Paxton.

Mr. Culley, a Chicago native, is a graduate of the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston. He recorded an album when he moved to Nashville, where he met Mr. Elliott. The pair recorded an album and had a successful touring career.

In the concerts on this tour, Runaway Home is joined by Scottish fiddler Laura McGhee.

the details
WHAT: Runaway Home
WHERE/WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday at Pickens Hall, 83 State St., Heuvelton, and 7 p.m. Friday at Bella Brooke Vineyards, 2989 County Route 6, Hammond
COST: Tickets for the concert at Pickens Hall are $10. There is no admission charge for the concert at Bella Brooke Vineyards.
ON THE NET: Selections from Runaway Home’s first album can be found on the band’s website: runawayhomemusic.com
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