If you find yourself tapping your toes to a banjo and fiddle tune wafting across Centre’s campus, you may be hearing the dulcet tones of MP.
The members of MP include Kelly Bolton ’13 on vocals and keyboard, Ty Carter ’13 on bass, Rachel Ison ’14 on bass, Jimmy Kalb ’12 on fiddle and mandolin, Cadey Phipps ’13 on vocals, Alex Ruffner ’13 on banjo, Dan Worley on dobro and guitar and Prof. Nathan Link on guitar, vocals, bass, keyboard and banjo.
MP was formed by members of the Kentucky Music Ensemble, a popular folk music group on campus led by Link.
“The number of people in the ensemble was becoming unmanageable, so Nathan decided to create several smaller groups. The group that became MP was formed while I was studying abroad in Belfast as a smaller, more acoustic ensemble group,” Kalb says. “As we played more and more together, it became clear that this combination of people, or some derivation thereof, could create some quite beautiful music.”
The band recently released their first album, “If You Like Things, You’ll Love MP,” as well their first single, “Castellon.”
“We are extremely proud of our first album,” Kalb says. “We released it to the public on April 13 at V the Market and sold out immediately.”
Members of MP have relished playing together and being part of a group that meshes well.
“The most enjoyable part for me has been the opportunity to sing in front of audiences, as well as bonding with the other members,” says Phipps. “The band members all get along and have a really encouraging and comfortable vibe playing together. Everything has been really fun, especially recording our debut album and a couple music videos that are yet to be released.”
Music is an extremely important part of the lives the students in the band—and has become even more important to them at Centre.
“I came to Centre as a mediocre, frustrated classical violinist. I didn’t find my niche in the music world until I joined the Kentucky ensemble my sophomore year,” Kalb says. “Now, I am playing as often as possible with MP and playing with a semi-professional local bluegrass band, Dix River Crossing. I would like to continue spending a great deal of time playing music over the next couple of years before going off to grad school to become a dusty old English professor.”
“Personally, music has always been something that I’ve loved,” Phipps agrees. “I grew up surrounded by it and coming to Centre I knew I wanted to continue that. I have a music scholarship at Centre, so I originally signed up for the Kentucky Music Ensemble just because it sounded like something different than choir, which is what I’d done a lot of in the past. I had never sung bluegrass/folk before, but definitely love it and am so happy I found it.”
For members of MP, music has been a unifier.
“We have everything from music to computer science to psychology to philosophy and chemistry majors, but music brings us together,” Phipps says. “It’s really awesome.”
As for the significance behind the band name? They’ll (probably) never tell.
“Revealing its meaning will only be on the table when we have 10,000 dollars in our bank account,” Kalb says. “We got our name in spring 2012, when we played at the Carmel Community Playhouse for the first time. On the way we decided it would probably be a good idea to have a name, and we came up with the initials M.P. I figure I can reveal that M stands for ‘mildly,’ as our website URL is mildlyp.com. However, the meaning of P is a carefully guarded secret.”