Guitarist and singer Darcy Ann Haughian, who grew up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, sings with her ensemble D'vas and Dudes in an all-ages gig at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at Blue Horse Gallery, Café and Wine Bar, in Bay Street Village, 301 W. Holly St.
Question: What's your professional background?
Answer: I attended Eau Claire University and obtained my bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in vocational rehabilitation.
Q: What brought you to Whatcom County?
A: I couldn't compete for a job in Madison because folks with Ph.D.s were taking dishwashing jobs just to live in Madison. A colleague who knew I was graduating told her boss about me who offered me a vocational specialist job in Bellingham.
My friends said, "Go to Washington for a few years, you'll love it." I thought I could gain the work experience to return to Madison to compete for a professional job. But Washington has been my home since 1988 and I love it here.
Q: How did you get into music?
A: I grew up with an upright player piano in the house where our family of seven and our guests would gather around and sing whenever company would come to call. My mother and grandfather played violin, and my father chorded on the piano and sang Irish songs at the top of his lungs.
I got my first guitar at age 12 and played for guitar Mass at our church with a group of girlfriends. At age 21 I started playing folk music in a duo that eventually morphed into the Wintergrass String band. I joined Blush, my first all-female group, while in I was in graduate school.
After moving to Bellingham, I met three guys at open mics and formed another string band called the Hayseeds. Blues singer Laurette Langille thought us worthy enough to let us play at blues jams at the now-defunct Cal's Tavern in Fairhaven!
My boyfriend/bass player and I left that band to form a Cajun/bluegrass band called Swampdragon, which held together for five years. I later met two women - Denise Hollister, a mandolin player, and Dianne Ardourel, a guitar/bass player - and we formed a women's trio called the 3-D'vas.
Our trademark was our tight three-part harmonies. We traded lead vocals as well as high and low harmonies for eight years. After Denise left the band we added a "dude" - Mark Inham - on mandolin/banjo/vocals and, recently, pedal steel.
"Tall" Paul Laugharn has been our drummer for more than 10 years, and in the past two years we have been blessed to have Northwest treasure "Fat" James join us on lead guitar and vocals.
The D'vas have played the Bellingham Parks concert series, the Anacortes Arts Festival and regularly play The Edison Inn, where our friends can come to dance. We also play weddings and parties.
Q: What will you perform at the Blue Horse?
A: Our song selections are an eclectic mix of rock, blues, bluegrass and country, with songs from the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffith, to name a few. We also play rock 'n' roll standards along with a variety of dance tunes.
We will be playing at Old World Deli one Saturday per month for the next three months: March 23, April 20 and May 18. We at The Edison Inn on June 8.