My Better Half – Kyle Dahlquist (or “I just can’t shake him!” )

Then (circa 1990)

I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t introduce you to the most talented and influential artist in my life, right?


If you know my artwork then you know just how beautifully – perfectly, he frames it. If you have worked with him you know what an elegant problem solver he is. If you have been in our house you know what a masterpiece he created from floor to ceiling (and hidden in the walls). But until you have seen him on stage, or heard the music that he makes, I would say you don’t really know him.


For me, I knew I was a goner when on our first date he sang an entire David Sylvian album to me. Yep, right there pretty much a done deal. But I didn’t know I would still feel the same way when I heard him sing more than 23 years later (which you don’t do nearly enough Mr Dahlquist). I didn’t know the brass player I was marrying would continue to add instruments to his arsenal so he would be prepared to add just the right sound at any time. And, I didn’t know (total lack of foresight on my part on this one) that we would have a constant stream of musicians in our kitchen, coming and going from rehearsals which happen in his studio behind the house. I just knew that he was a crazy talented musician, whose humility was really charming. (and he was pretty darn cute too!)



Alacartoona: Overton Wooldridge


So it came as a surprise when five years ago (this week), we were attending the farewell performance of Alacartoona‘s accordion player, and Kyle leaned over the table and told Gregory Story and me that he would like to audition for the part. He loved the performative nature of what the group was doing, the story telling, the showmanship, and apparently not being an accordion player (yet) did not seem to be a deterrent. That year santa brought Kyle an accordion, and brought me…noise canceling headphones. Following that night came months and months of woodshedding (oh, if we had only had a woodshed!), multiple auditions with the skeptical band, the beginning of his signature mustache, narratives for his character’s backstory, the hunt for the perfect suit, and eventually his Alacartoona character, Overton Wooldridge was introduced.






You can hear Kyle’s beautiful baritone voice and hear the accordion (and trombone) on Alacartoona’s long awaited album Fantoche. It was released in September without a lot of fanfare because of everyone’s really busy schedules. It is rare to get these four talented individuals in the same room (in fact they only did once during the recording), so to get to hear them together is a real treat. It is fantastically creepy as it transports you to a night in a dark cabaret. It is a perfect foil for the sweetness of the holidays.

You can buy it and the rest of alacartoona’s cds here, or contact us directly and we will be sure to get one into your hands.



Kyle has spent a lot of time in the studio in the last year. Not just with Alacartoona and Fantoche, but lending his talents to help other groups round out their sound. I hope you will give them a listen too.

Victor and Penny – Side by Side
Dollar Fox – Little Mother’s Things I Am Keeping
Cher UK – Little Blue Soldier



  1. erin December 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    “elegant problem solver” indeed!!
    Chris, you are an elegant wordsmith.
    XO love you both so very much.

    • bigjim December 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

      kiss that cute guy for me! xoj

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *