MILLHEIM - Meg Baird and Michael Hurley will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks, 100 W. Main St.
Baird is a native of Burlington, N.J., but has been living in Philadelphia for 16 years. She works in administration at the Wagner Free Institute of Science, but her true passion lies in music.
The performer was surrounded by music growing up. Her father and sister play music.
"There were always instruments around the house and there was only one that we weren't allowed to touch - the trombone," Baird said. "Everything else was free game. It was just sort of expected and a natural thing to do."
Baird said she wasn't the type of kid to be found singing into her hairbrush, though.
"I wasn't interested in the media or that aspect of performance," she said. "I wasn't picturing myself on TV with a hairbrush in my hand. I wasn't like that. I guess I was pretty nerdy."
She released "Dear Companion" in 2007 before taking a brief break from recording. Her latest album, "Seasons on Earth," reflect the evolution of Baird's musical development.
"I think I probably became more confident about songwriting," she said. "I just had this kind of a natural development of guitar style. I've been playing alone more and I'm sure that led to developing skills and interest in songwriting and playing."
Although Baird said she had no direct intention to try anything different with "Seasons of Earth," she was sure of two things when creating the second album: "I wanted to have more original material and I wanted to collaborate with some other musicians. It all came together pretty naturally. These were people I've known, mostly in Philadelphia and the New York area."
Baird's music can be emotionally heavy at times, but she said the content is a very direct expression, rather than a chance to release her feelings.
"I might feel edgy and antsy if I don't get a chance to play music, so maybe it comes out more that way," she said. "I don't notice when I'm doing it. I keep things pretty personal and abstract at the same time so it's not too personal. I just think that gives a good point of access."
This will be a first stop at Elk Creek for Baird, who said she is always excited to make friends in new places. She had a chance to play in Europe a fair amount. The support for music and art in Belgium makes that her favorite place to play.
"I'm really excited to play this one (in Millheim) because it's not a place I've ever been," she said. "It's a little more rural."
Baird has been playing on and off with Hurley since 2002, since her folk rock band, Espers, started.
"I think we're definitely of the same vein," Baird said of Hurley. "We definitely reference some similar traditions, sometimes the same or those next to each other. At least traditions coming from very compatible places. Michael said mine is more of an ancient variety than his. I can see where he's coming from."
Hurley grew up in Bucks County, releasing his first album, "First Songs," in 1964. His discography includes 23 albums, most recently "Blue Hills," released in 2010. Each of the CD covers includes Hurley's personal artwork for his Americana-style music. According to Elk Creek's website, the singer-songwriter has been invited to perform with Son Volt, Lucinda Williams, and Smog and Palace Brothers.
With roots in blues and folk music, Baird said the duo is just a "natural fit."
Tickets for the show are $12 and may be ordered at www.elkcreekcafe.net. For more information about the show at Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks, call 814-349-8850. For more information about either performer, visitwww.megbaird.com or www.snockonews.net.