Harmony, energy come from Acoustic Campfire | Arts & Entertainment

When musicians Glenn Stern and Steve Kuhn sing together, they create a harmony so pleasing that they have come to believe their voices were meant to be joined, to the delight of audiences who gather to hear the duo Kuhn dubbed Acoustic Campfire.

“There’s been so much turmoil in most everybody’s world the last three years. Acoustic Campfire offers soothing vocal harmonies and favorite songs that take us back to our youth,” Stern said, adding that the men traded their Washington, DC-area traffic jams for a different type of jam — using acoustic guitars.

In conversation, the men are most complimentary of each other, with Stern calling Kuhn “a true professional and wonderful guitar player who has a beautiful voice,” and Kuhn saying his and Stern’s voices were “made to sing together.”

“We have that perfect harmony,” Stern agreed, adding that the men perform songs made popular by the Eagles, opening most shows with the 1973 hit “Tequila Sunrise” and singing the American rock band’s “Seven Bridges Road” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling .”

“We take requests. Steve says, ‘We take requests sometimes, but we don’t take them seriously,’” he said, laughing.

Kuhn created the band’s unique name, reasoning their songs are like those sung “when you sit around a campfire and have fun with friends.”

The musicians met after Kuhn went to see Stern perform with another band and introduced himself. They became friends and decided to sing together. When they met, Stern was in a band with a friend from his old neighborhood in Gaithersburg, Md.

“We went to high school together. I got us a gig at the Coastal Club in Lewes about three years ago, and he texted Steve and said, ‘Come and see us. Listen to us play.’ We both had just moved down fulltime. I was in a band in the Gaithersburg area, just knocking around, playing at clubs, bars and in the neighborhood. My wife retired, so we sold our house there and moved to Delaware fulltime, and so did Steve. We met after we had both moved down here,” said Stern, who lives in Millville.

“We are unique in the fact that, unlike a lot of other bands, we leverage our harmonies together, and people love it because it’s the songs you listened to and you know. We cater to those in their 60s and maybe even a little older. We want to start doing more upbeat songs. We do ‘Wagon Wheel’ and a few other upbeat songs. People, after a few drinks, they want to start dancing,” said Stern, who began playing guitar after his children finished high school and college, and he had more time.

A member of the Philadelphia Boys’ Choir when he was a child, the 63-year-old Stern is employed as a telecommunications professional for Spirent, a company based in San Jose that manufactures diagnostic equipment for telecommunications “to provide tools to enable successful transformation to next-generation technology on the business development side, with a focus on the federal government market.”

That might sound like a complicated career, but Stern downplayed its importance and focused on his wife, Lisa, whom he called the backbone of the family. The couple has five children in a blended family and four grandchildren.

Guitarist Kuhn, retired from work as director of broadcast engineering for the Associated Press in Washington, DC, is now a busy full-time musician living in Bethany Beach and playing solo; in Acoustic Campfire; in a duo called Ocean Winds, with Lynn Litzinger; with the Lauren Glick Trio that has been in Ocean City for more than 20 years; in a four-piece band called Repeat Offenders; and a five-piece band named Thin Ice.

“To me, the ’70s was the best music around,” Kuhn said.

“There were a lot of great artists, like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, the Eagles — a lot of acoustic rock. You see a lot of solo people play that kind of music, but not a lot of bands play that early ’70s acoustic rock. In Acoustic Campfire, we play a lot of different things — the ’70s and ’80s. We go back into the ’50s with the Everly Brothers, a lot of ’60s music, The Beatles, anything with really good harmony, like Seals & Crofts, America,” Kuhn said.

Kuhn, 59, who was in a band for 20 years in Washington, DC, and wrote his own music, is from upstate New York.

In upcoming weeks, Acoustic Campfire will be at The Salted Rim Margarita Bar & Grille in Millville from 8 to 11 pm on Fridays, April 15 and May 27, July 1 and July 22, and at several other locations, including Bear Trap Dunes, and Bourbon Street and Coconuts in Ocean City. See the full schedule on the Acoustic Campfire Facebook page.

“When we perform, it’s a nice atmosphere,” Stern said.

“We encourage people to have fun. We want to engage the audience. What I love most is that Steve brings out the best in what I do. We can’t make the same sounds without each other. We need each other,” he said.

“We sense the energy in the room when we play. We see that people love it and it builds on our love for it.”

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