Folk singer and songwriter Mare Wakefield was raised in Texas, then attended the University of Oregon in Eugene. - Photo by Wade Griffith

Mare Wakefield and Nomad Ovunc at Tease

Acoustic folk artist Mare Wakefield is turning the heads of music industry professionals — and children — with her songwriting.

In April, Wakefield received an Honor Award from the 10th annual Great American Songwriting Contest — an international competition — for her song "About the War" from her 2005 album "Take Me Home." Along with that, Wakefield's duo project with songwriter Eve Fleischman, Eve and Mare (pronounced Mary), has released a new children's album, "Green Means Go," produced by Wakefield's husband, Nomad Ovunc.

"There's a little bit of a Grammy buzz in there," Ovunc says, referring to "Green Means Go." "You never know where these things will lead."

Wakefield, Ovunc and guitarist Mysha Caruso will perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at Tease, 303 E. Main St., Ashland. Caruso is based in Ashland.

Ovunc is interviewing on Wakefield's behalf. She isn't available, he says apologetically. She and folk artist Laura Kemp are teaching a children's music workshop in Eugene. The workshop follows Wakefield's concert and songwriting workshop for children at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisc., and a 12-hour trip back to the West Coast.

"Green Means Go" is Eve and Mare's second children's album, and the duo holds workshops and concerts at schools, festivals and museums. Learn more at www.eveandmare.com.

Wakefield has four albums for mature listeners. Her newest, "Ironwood" (2008) holds a songwriter's keen insights about life's follies and pleasures. Also produced by Ovunc at Audio Authorities in Nashville, the album is filled with arrangements such as "Enjoy the View," "Enough Bad Love," "Dreams Come True" and "Together Alone" that feature Tommy Perkinson on drums, Joe Rathbone on electric guitar and Ovunc on bass and keyboards. Wakefield's first two albums are good representations of her work as a solo artist. She and her husband have worked as a duo since 2005. The arrangements on "Ironwood" are a culmination of their efforts.

Wakefield and Ovunc haven't been strangers to regional folk music fans, either. Wakefield lived in Eugene for 12 years, attending the University of Oregon before heading off to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met Ovunc. The two moved to Nashville together, where Wakefield writes songs and Ovunc produces records.

"Every year we come back to the West Coast, where Mare has a fan base," Ovunc says. "We do as many shows as we can in a month. Most of them are listening rooms, acoustic venues. Some are house concerts, some are in small pubs."

"We know Mysha from one of our last trips to Oregon," Ovunc says. "We played together at the Siskiyou Pub and discovered a good connection between us."

Wakefield and Ovunc also have toured Europe for the past three years, garnering fans in Germany, Holland and Switzerland.

"Those tours build a good relationships with overseas radio stations," Ovunc says. "And on top of it all we get to travel."

As folk musicians, Wakefield and Ovunc were recognized this month by C.F. Martin & Co. as preferred Martin artists, which means the two will be receiving a new Martin guitar, among other things.

"Mare and I have always loved Martins," Ovunc says. "We already have two, but we're looking forward to a new model. They're above a certain level of quality. When instruments stop being toys and turn into professional gear — then they're all good; they just have certain characters."

Cover for the show at Tease is $3. Call 488-1458.

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