The Mandolin/Guitar duo of Kenneth P.W. Rainey and Geoff Farina take their name from Geeshie Wiley’s classic threnody for her war-bound serviceman, a tune that inspired them separately before they met in Chicago in 2010. As Wiley’s elegy combined antebellum balladry with hard Delta picking, Rainey and Farina treat songster ballads, string-band classics, and fiddle tunes with Piedmont counterpoint and bluegrass crosspicking, usually on instruments as old as the tunes themselves. The Last Kind Words will be shunned by roots traditionalists and indie innovators alike, for their modest aim is neither orthodoxy nor artistry; it is enjoying America’s finest melodies over coffee on a sunny Sunday morning.
Kenneth P.W. Rainey, author of the wildly unpopular American & Country Music Tune Book, is an encyclopedia of pre-WWII American music. Kenneth has been playing western swing, old time, and bluegrass in the Chicago area for years. He is a member of The Golden Horse Ranch Band and The Chandelier Swingers. He previously was a member of Chicago’s Tangleweed for 8 years, and has also shared the stage with Edward Burch, The Kennett Brothers, and the Viper and His Famous Orchestra.
Geoff Farina fronted indie stalwarts Karate and The Secret Stars in the 90s, and currently leads the acoustic unit Glorytellers that is equal parts Jelly Roll Morton, Hank Locklin, Nic Jones and Peter Lang. Farina spent much of the past decade crooning his way across the US and Europe, studying the music of The Blakes (Norman and Arthur), collecting vintage flat-tops, and teaching music theory/history at Colby College, the University of Maine, and DePaul University.