Catching Up with Singer-Songwriter Carley Baer

All my troubles and cares in a box by the stairs

All my wishes are hung on a star

You can break me or bleed me but if you should need me

I’ll be down at the corner bar


I’ll be raising my glass to the people who pass

As they make a big fuss of the day

I’ll make a toast to this town and I’ll drink it all down

And tomorrow can come as it may.


– Carley Baer on “TomorroWaltz”


Ten months after the release of her all-acoustic album of fan favorites, Blink Of An Eye, singer-songwriter Carley Baer returns to the Holiday Music Motel and its Dark Songs songwriting festival with yet another new release and at least a few more instruments at her disposal.

The Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter has become a regular fixture of the Door County music scene since discovering the music motel and its thrice-yearly songwriting festivals (Love on Holiday, Steel Bridge Songfest and Dark Songs) a few years ago.

Halloween weekend, she will be back on stage at Third Avenue Playhouse along with dozens of other motel musicians, sharing the creepy, dark creations that come from a week of spin-the-bottle partnerships. This year, she’ll be armed with her newest love – the accordion.

The ol’ squeezebox is a recent addition to Baer’s collection of instruments after making its way onto her newest album, Life Goes On After All, a pop and jazz-infused folk album that “came about in the dark of the night,” and was considered a surprise release by most of her followers in June.

Photo by Kelly Goettelman/Avenson Photography.

Photo by Kelly Goettelman/Avenson Photography.

“It happened just out of the blue,” Baer said. “I wasn’t really planning on putting out a new album until Memorial Day weekend when I was emailing with Steve Hamilton [of Makin’ Sausage Music in Milwaukee], who is one of the engineers up there [at Holiday Music Motel]…We had started a couple projects and it just sort of, over the Friday through Monday of Memorial Day weekend, a couple hours a day we were mixing and mastering and all the sudden had this album.”

With guitar, ukulele and her crystal-clear vocals as main characters – and accordion, piano and MIDI instruments secondary – Baer’s new release explores her growing maturity with a lighthearted undercurrent that encourages the listener to take life less seriously.

“It’s sort of a coming-of-age idea,” she explained. “I’m in my early 30s, I’m realizing that some of the things I maybe took way too seriously when I was younger, a lot of it is not as serious as it seems and you kind of, as you get older and more mature and less easily rattled, you kind of realize that things are probably going to be fine.”

Baer recorded and arranged most of the album on her own, and became self-taught in bass, accordion and a bit of piano to achieve the musical variety on Life Goes On After All. This fall, she will begin compiling Travelogue, a collection of songs inspired by her recent travels to Paris and Budapest.

But first, Dark Songs 2016, which she leads into with a week’s worth of touring in Stevens Point, Appleton, Green Bay and Door County.

“I love the creepiness and I really love how mischievous and playful and dark things can get,” Baer said of Dark Songs. “It’s sort of like a musical manifestation of the whole root concept of Halloween – dressing up to frighten away the evil spirits and really not being afraid to get dark and scary in your subject matter, which lends to really interesting songs.

“I really have to say how much I love the people who participate in these festivals, and pat mAcdonald and melaniejane especially,” she added. “I’m always honored to be invited back to these events, and I’m so grateful to have this group of people as my ‘song family.’”


For more on Carley Baer, visit


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