By Elizabeth Sias
If a slice of pie accompanied by traditional Irish folk music sounds like a good time, Siloa Lutheran Church has what you’re looking for.
The next Music & Pie Concert on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. features Todd Menton, who will entertain the crowd with his traditional Irish and English tunes. The concert is free, but free will offerings are accepted with all proceeds given to the performer. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s a combination of lively folk songs, original songs, American and British Isles dance music and humor,” Menton explained to describe his music. “And a few original songs that fall into a more traditional country or folk sound.”
He first started hearing traditional Irish music as a teenager and immediately liked the sound.
Back then, most record stores didn’t have that type of music, so he’d track down songs by musicians he’d seen perform on television.
“I started getting so interested in it that I started trying to play it myself. I’d been playing normal folk guitar for a while, but then I got some tradition Irish instruments like a tin whistle,” Menton said. “After a few years, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Within a few years, Menton added the mandolin to the list of instruments he can play. Thirty years later, and Menton continues to enjoy making a living out of his passion.
At the Music & Pie show, he’ll play a bazooki — which he describes as a large mandolin with a deeper sound — as well as guitar, vocals and bodhran, which is a traditional Irish hand drum he usually plays while he sings, “but it’s mostly for accompanying jigs and reels — Irish step dancing.”
Menton has three records available on www.newfolkrecords.com. One has pub and traditional music, while the other two are a combination of different sounds. He also performs in a band called Boiled In Lead, world music with a progressive rock edge. The band is putting together an EP with four or five tracks to be out by St. Patrick’s Day.
He also teaches music at the Center for Irish Music in St. Paul, a school for traditional Irish music.
As for his own music, Menton said his inspiration can come from anywhere.
“The traditional music comes from things I hear and love, and for original music, it’s something that comes to mind and I figure out if I’m inspired by a piece of the lyrics or melody,” he said. “If it’s still running through my head by the end of the day, I know I should get out my guitar and write it down.”
Connecting with audiences is what Menton enjoys most about performing live, but said it can also be a challenge.
“There’s usually a difference between what people want to hear and whatever I do,” he said. “I have to kind of decide to enjoy it myself and play music I like and try to put that across to people — that’s the biggest challenge is remaining my own musician, just being myself and making that work for people.”
Finding out what the crowd wants to hear can be a fun task, though, which is why he’s looking forward to the intimate setting of the Music & Pie concert.
“The Music & Pie show sounds exactly like the kind of place I like to play best because the people are there for a good time and I can talk to them between songs to find out what they like,” he said.
Ultimately, Menton simply wants his music to be enjoyed and remembered.
“I think every musician hopes to have people remember their music,” he said. “And I hope people enjoy it. If people enjoy the music, it will all work out.”
For more information on Todd Menton, visit www.toddmenton.com. Siloa Lutheran Church is located at 2607 405th Ave. NW in Braham. For more information on the Music & Pie Concert Series, contact organizer Pat Schonhardt at 718-749-6341.