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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Sullivan County duo makes sweet music with ‘Pure Local Honey'

By Kathy Daley - reporter/photographer

By: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The duo of Fisher & Kean performs locally at places like Arrowhead Ranch in Parksville, above. They both have music in their blood. Paul Kean remembers his father singing in the choir at Sacred Heart Church in Pond Eddy. Deborah Fisher recalls a childhood where her mother and grandmother sang to her: 'You Are My Sunshine.'
In fourth grade Paul Kean discovered the brand new Beatles hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” fascinated at that young age by what is now considered the Fab Four's ground-breaking vocal harmonies.
Some years later, Deborah Anne Fisher, age seven, got a record player for her birthday.
“I listened to 50s and 60s music, to the Beatles, to Elvis, his 'Blue Suede Shoes,'” said Fisher, who also goes by her married name of Palmarini. “I would stand on my bed in pajamas, singing and holding a ‘mike' made of balled-up aluminum foil.”
It took the duo of Fisher & Kean a couple of decades before the longtime Sullivan County residents found each other professionally and took to each other's songs and performances. Their first CD together, entitled Pure Local Honey, is just that: local, clear and, often, sweet.

“Paul writes beautiful songs,” said Fisher, a Liberty native for 30 years. “There's a tenderness to Paul's tone, a rhythmic playing style and a vulnerable kind of quality.”
The CD is comprised of 15 of Fisher's original songs along with 13 by Kean, who lives in Livingston Manor. Each artist backs the other on their individual tracks.
Several of their songs delightfully focus on local experiences. One of Fisher's tunes highlights a perfect day on the Delaware River. Kean talks about his teenage job experience at Yulan's long-ago Washington Lake Casino in his song “Girls of Summer.”
Other subjects range from the expected topics of love and loss but also on issues like the demise of the family farm and the difficulty that Vietnam veterans have faced, both addressed by Kean.
In Sullivan County, Kean is also known as a commercial artist who also launched a number of art galleries. He worked many years as store manager at the Peck's Market in Manor. Musically, he's performed since age 19 in country rock, bluegrass bands and in a folk trio. He joined local musician Jeff Orts in the guitar/banjo duo “Those Guys.”
As for Fisher, music called to her like a siren song. She performed for years at wineries, taverns and coffee houses and sang monthly at a cafe on Bleeker Street. She's donated her talent at prisons and drug rehab centers.
In 1995 she launched the blues band, Dallas Fisher, and released two CDs: "Love Waits" in 1999, and "The Jungle" in 2001. The band toured the Northeast for over a decade.
Fisher went on to cut two more CDs, “Rose Mountain” in 2014 and “Just a Few Old Memories” in 2016, all the while raising her five children. During those years, she worked at St. Peter's Catholic School in Liberty, where her kids were educated. She served as a substitute teacher, then a teacher's aide and finally as the school's music and art teacher.
In 2015, Kean and Fisher met at a performance of hers at the Dead End Cafe in Parksville. She typically accompanies herself on guitar or ukulele with a husky voice that can rise into a bluesy Janis Joplin-esque rasp. “I thought 'wow,” said Kean. “If the opportunity comes, I'd like to collaborate.”
Two years later, they were on the same bill at the Roscoe Beer Company's festival and began performing together. They're seen at local breweries, distilleries, farmer's markets and celebrations and in her Sunshine bus, a 60s vintage-painted vehicle with solar panels.
This winter, the duo performed out of the bus at the Christmas Eve celebration for the Federation of the Homeless in Monticello and at Christmas tree and menorah lightings in Kauneonga Lake.
“Life is about values,” says Fisher, “about us all loving one another.”
As for Kean, “I'm proud of what we've accomplished,” he said.
The recording is a double CD set offered for sale as well as digital downloads at https://DeborahAFisher.com.











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