Based in the traditional music of America, The Tarveys play “farmicanna music.” Their songs are about farms and small towns of the Midwest and the people who live there. Although The Tarveys started as Karie Oberg and Paul Imholte, the are often joined by John Ely.
Karie grew up on a dairy farm in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin, just up from the Mississippi River near the village of Hagar City, Wisconsin. Karie shared in the field work and caring for the animals on the farm. Her parents encouraged her musical pursuits after finding her numerous times singing to the cows. When she left home, Karie traveled throughout North America and the United Kingdom collecting and learning different musical styles and making them her own. She has sung in bands ranging from Celtic to country and from rock to jazz. Her performance in The Tarveys brings her back to her roots on the land.
Family farming was also in Paul’s past. Raised on a chicken farm in central Minnesota, Paul and his brothers would feed ten thousand chickens before going off to school. Along with farming, Paul’s grandfather was a fiddle player that played at barn dances. He passed on his music and his fiddle to Paul. When he was in his early teens, he formed a band with his older brother to play dances. From there, people started lending him string instruments. When entrusted with an instrument, he felt obliged to learn it. That’s how he came upon the hammered dulcimer, autoharp, viola, banjo, mandolin, and cello. Happy accident.
Besides performing as The Tarveys, Karie and Paul are members of the Irish music group, Ring of Kerry. They first met when Karie came for an audition for the band. She awed the band with her stunning voice. To compliment their work with Ring of Kerry, Paul and Karie started performing as a duet doing American folk music. Their farm backgrounds became a natural starting point in making music.