Husband-and-wife duo Carol and Fred Linde have always felt they are “cut from the same cloth.” As he puts it, “Carol is the main ingredient,” and as she says, “Fred is my main man in this duo.”
The two met a surprise party where it was no surprise that they ended up singing with each other.
“Fred and his buddy opened the night with their acoustic act called Rock N’Rye. I couldn’t help myself and just naturally sang harmony with them. The rest is history,” Carol Linde said.
He remembers a similar story, with her chiming in “with some really sweet harmony.” The duo have been singing since the day they met and their duo, Common Threads, has played on stages in Northeast Pennsylvania for the past 30 years.
Q: How did you get involved in music?
Carol Linde: My mom always played her albums at home when I was growing up; she loved a wide range of music and played it loud and often. She also was self-taught on the piano. I am sure her love for music rubbed off on me. In high school, I had a friend who sang beautiful harmonies with her sister. I was intrigued and determined to learn to sing like that. So I started by listening to the Beatles albums and played one side at a time on the mono stereo, learning the different keys that blended together. I trained my ear to be able to sing harmony on command.
Fred Linde: Several of my family members played instruments and had a country band in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I always enjoyed people playing music and I got the bug.
Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public?
CL: I was seven years old and had my first piano recital at Greenridge Nursing home. I was a little bit nervous, but not about preforming. A nursing home can be a very scary place for a seven-year-old. But despite my fears, I performed “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” flawlessly.
FL: I played my guitar at a campsite in New York. The campers were kind, they made me feel comfortable and confident although I know I wasn’t very good at the time. It was a good start for me.
Q: How did you guys come up with your name?
CL: Fred and I used to listened to a college radio station in upstate New York called Common Threads. It’s a two-hour long show of singer-songwriters performing other singer-songwriters’ songs. It was a great concept.
FL: The name seem to fit our situation as a husband-and- wife duo.
Q: What is the process for choosing the songs you cover?
CL: For me, I find if it’s a song that I am singing lead on, I have to learn my singing parts first so it comes without effort, then I learn the bass parts. If I am singing backup, I learn the bass line first, and the harmonies just fall into place.
FL: We try to pick songs that work for both of us. We are limited, as we never use electronic or computer generated assistance.
Q: How have you changed as a musician over the years?
CL: That’s a hard one. Just about everything I know about performing I learned from my husband, Fred. He is a very patient man. My first years of playing the bass were frustrating and embarrassing at best. But with the encouragement from my family and friends and tons of practice, I have learned to relax and just be on stage and enjoy playing and singing.
FL: I’ve developed more patience, keeping temps and volumes at lower levels while using a softer touch. I tended to play too fast and too loud, but maturity has helped me in these areas.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories as a musician?
CL: The one that sticks out in my mind the most was one snowy December night, George Wesley and Annette Pinchotti joined us on stage in a little bowling alley in Elmhurst. Word spread like wildfire in our small North Pocono community and the place was hopping all night long.
FL: All the great musicians and friends I have played with over the years. Some gigs were better than others, but it is a great life experience I will never forget.
Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
CL: People don’t stay out as late as they did back in the big rock club days and I believe the bar owners have learned to add live entertainment earlier and more often during happy hour and dinner hour.
FL: I don’t believe it has changed much. It seemed to have lost some momentum with the emergence of DJs. To me, that also has died off and live music is in more demand than ever.
Q: What is the biggest challenge?
CL: Keeping our music fresh and finding new venues to play.
FL: The instrument itself, you never stop learning it.
Q: What are your future goals for the band?
CL: We have played together for well over 30 years and the winters are hard here in the Northeast. I would like to see us as snowbirds and play music up and down the east coast and have the best of both worlds.
FL: Keep learning new music, looking for new venues and improving my craft.
— samantha stanich