maryland folk singer, adult contemporary maryland musician, carey creed songwriter, I Know You, Plum Branch, Carey Crede, Carrie Creed, Carrie Crede, Kerry Creed, Kerry Creed, Cary Creed,


"Creed has a lovely voice, a soprano that brings a certain purity to the performances on 'Peace of Wild Things.'  Creed's voice is as warm as it is naturally tuneful...Many well-known performers in the Washington area contribute to the album's charms..."
—Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
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"...she has played in bars, with a twelve-piece orchestra...and with local legends like Tom Prasada-Rao, Grace Griffith and Jody Marshall...'I hope it's inspirational.  I hope it's fun, she says.  "That's my goal.'"
—Chris Slattery, The Gazette
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"The delicate beauty of the blossoming plum is an apt metaphor for the simple beauty of Creed's music...One's heart rises to meet the joy in her voice."
—Anna Garris Goiser, Women Today
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"Extraordinary...a songwriting talent of the highest emotional maturity, strength, and depth of character rare these days, and usually absent from the fluff of most popular music."
—Cliff Johns, Old Town Crier
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"...Creed has a fine voice, reminiscent at times of Judy Collins, and a style that fans of Collins would be comfortable with on most songs."
—Bud Newman, Folk News: Newsletter of the World Folk Music Assn.
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" could say that Carey Creed's star is rising. But it has been shining oh so brightly all the while...."
—Patti Brett, Music Monthly
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"I liked 'Reflections,' featuring a vocal duet with Tom Prasada-Rao, plus a klezmer-accordian-accented "This Wedding Day." Subjects close to her heart, like these two, uplift in short strokes."
—JC, Performing Songwriter

Excerpts from "Songs in the Key of Creed"
by Chris Slattery, The Gazette, August 8th, 2001.

Carey Creed is not looking to change the world. "I don't want to be a star," she says. "I just want to play music locally and have people enjoy it." It's a simple, humble goal, one that [Creed] has achieved despite odds that others might find daunting.

Her first CD, 1993's "Plum Branch," was inspired by a poem her late husband gave her, a Vietnamese piece, "Rebirth," written by Man Giac a thousand years ago. The album's title, she explains, is a metaphor for rebirth in the poem.

The Vietnamese connection is a significant one. Creed's husband, Jim Creed-Detorie, had taught English and coping skills to Vietnamese refugees while he was recovering from his battle against leukemia...At that time, as the '80s dawned, refugees were pouring in from Cambodia, Afghanistan and other far-flung parts of the world. Creed-Detorie was there to help them assimilate, and he took away an appreciation for other cultures that he passed on to his new wife. Their happiness together was brief. In 1982, Creed-Detorie, though he'd declared victory over leukemia, succumbed when his immune system was unable to fight off less formidable illness. And Creed, who had her own medical problems, was left with her music, art and poetry to ease the pain.

Piano Girl: Carey Creed was born in Washington, D.C., the only child of music-loving parents. They discovered early on that their daughter's tastes tended to be more refined than their own. "My mother says when I was very small, she tried to sing me a lullaby," the musician explains. "I said, 'Please don't sing, Mother!' And she never did again--not until she was in a nursing home." Indeed, Creed enjoyed her mother's late-in-life warbling so much that she wishes she had never said anything as a tot--even though she doesn't really remember the incident. Her father was another story. Creed's childhood memories include her dad singing and playing music. "He loved music," she says. "My mother didn't like it that much. He'd play opera on the radio and she'd say, 'Joe, turn that down!'"

Still, when their daughter showed an aptitude for music, plinking out basic melodies on a neighbor's piano at age 3, they were excited. They arranged for piano lessons, but it wasn't until high school that Creed began to see herself as a musician. That was when she started writing songs...she wrote her first song in 1963 when President Kennedy was shot. "I got to write some protest songs during the Vietnam War," she says. "I was trying to be Grace Slick."

...She left [college] in senior year, opting for a Continuing Education Certificate from George Washington University that allowed her to work as a technical editor in The Nature Conservancy's science department. "It was so exciting to be on the ground floor, protecting endangered species and their environment," she remembers.

...Illness intervened, and her career had to take a back seat while she concentrated on the surgery and treatment she needed. Ironically, the illness led to the start of her career as a musician. She had met and married her husband, her health wasn't the best, and working long hours wasn't benefiting her status as either newlywed or recovering patient. "I had never thought about a career in music," she explains. "My new husband said 'Why don't you just try?' He really inspired me." Soon a new phase of her life had begun.

Harmony: Creed's performing career started at the Tiber Creek Pub, a now-defunct bar down on E Street in the District...the place she'll show up next, Kensington Park Library, is a much different environment. The intervening years have taught her a great deal, as she played in bars, with a 12-piece orchestra...and with local legends like Tom Prasada-Rao, Grace Griffith and Jody Marshall of Connemara and Moonfire.

...She had heard and enjoyed some good but little-known songs on the radio, and realized that not every singer needs a Top 10 hit to get airplay. Through the Songwriters [Association of Washington], she won an award in the folk category and a Wammie for gospel singing--and soon she was cutting an album of her own...That was 'Plum Branch," a labor of love and of nine months in the recording studio. Released to warm reviews in 1993, it gave Creed a deeply felt sense of accomplishment.

"It felt good to have this thing in my hand," she marvels. "To say, 'This is who I am. I hope you enjoy it and get something out of it.'" Critics, friends, and fans did. And while the tribulations of life, including caring for her parents who passed away not long ago, have kept her out of the studio, a new CD is in the works, co-produced this time with Tom-Prasada-Rao, and a bit more cohesive than the last one.

"I don't tend to lock into one style," she explains. "Which, when you bring it to a record store, is not good. They want to be able to put it into a bin." Not so the concert audience, who will be able to hear the eclectic crooner's influences when she performs in concert. "I hope it's inspirational. I hope it's fun," she says. "That's my goal."

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Excerpts from "Deft Sketches from Carey Creed"
by Anna Garris Goiser, Women Today

Carey Creed is...well, different. Thank God!

Geoffrey Himes of The Washington Post calls her a "new-age/folk" artist" and Eve Zibart of the same paper classifies her as an "inspirational new-folkie."'

There should be a music critic's guideline somewhere that says if one finds oneself struggling to marry genre descriptives with hyphens or slashes perhaps one should seriously consider that the artist in question is actually doing something original. Such is the case with Carey Creed.

Local artist Carey Creed's first album, Plum Branch--is different--different enough to make one want to amend the old adage about God looking after "fools and Irishmen," to add, "and daring young vocalists of unbelievable spirit with their hearts on their sleeves."

Plum Branch is a study in microfocus. The delicate beauty of the blossoming plum is an apt metaphor for the simple beauty of Creed's music...Stylistically, it is a unique synthesis of classic folk, country, ecclesiastical and musical theatre. And it changes...unlike many artists who adapt the material to their style, Creed's voice is an interpretive instrument, and she allows the music to determine the stylistic demand on her voice. A subtle point, to be sure, but everything about Carey Creed is subtle.

Plum Branch contains a selection of widely diverse songs that Creed is able to weave into an emotionally logical whole, which gives the listener a glimpse into a personality of intriguing facets. There are the straightforward, simple love songs, "Starlight," "Reflections," "This Wedding Day," and "Candlelight;" the campy "Buyin' Something;" "Gloria," the ballad of a junkie's losing battle; "Rebirth," a 12th century Vietnamese poem set to music; "Girl Child," a thank-you to the birth mother who gave life to an adopted child, "Never," a firm brush-off to a married man with philandering on his mind, and "The Prayer of St. Francis."

...The point is, the diverse material on Plum Branch holds together because it's a clear reflection of the diverse mind creating it. One feels a clearer connection with the person, Carey Creed, than one does listening to most vocal albums.

Everything about this album is a surprise--the choice of material, the extremely low-key arrangements, the overall understatement of the performance style. And it all works. Creed knows the power of a whisper to make one lean closer and pay attention to the speaker. The most interesting element of Plum Branch is Creed's vocal phrasing. The lyrics, even those contributed by St. Francis and Vietnamese poet Man Giac, are extremely simple. Creed's own lyrics are not particularly poetical, just plain and to the point. However, her singing of the words is utterly inspiring. She infuses them with such expression, such spirit, that they are literally transformed into some higher, more precious metal, and one is aware of witnessing a quiet miracle. Creed's lovely voice is far forward in the arrangements along with the piano and sax, cello and guitar, and the rhythm section is placed farther in the background than usual, but the peculiar emphasis is the perfect setting for her voice and delivery.

While Creed has a great sense of humor, as evidenced in "Buyin' Something," and her love songs are so personal in their expression if not their content as to make one feel they're overhearing an extremely private moment, she is at her best in "Rebirth" and her duet with Tom Prasada-Rao, "Reflections." The absolute crowning moment of Plum Branch, however, is "Prayer of St. Francis." The purity of voice and intent, the subtle expression, and the utter humility of the words come together in a single moment that defies category and classification. The song, and its inclusion on the album, is an act of faith so courageous and so honest, that no matter one's personal belief there is absolutely no doubt as to the depth of that of Carey Creed.

One's heart rises to meet the joy in her voice.

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Excerpts from "Carey Creed: Local Joni Mitchell Elicits
Laughter and Tears with Plum Branch"
by Cliff Johns, the Old Town Crier

Extraordinary singer/songwriter Carey Creed grew up in the Washington metropolitan area, and, except for a college stint in North Carolina, has always lived, performed, and recorded here...Carey has contributed a good deal of studio work to colleagues...and has in her press kit an extensive list of festivals, benefits, and radio programs where she has played.

Carey herself listens to, and cites as role models, Joni Mitchell--whom she resembles in several ways--Cheryl Wheeler, Stevie Wonder, Judy Collins, Gladys Knight, Bruce Cockburn...

Carey's album Plum Branch projects a songwriting talent of the highest caliber, and a singing voice that pierces the drab sameness of female folk vocals without exactly bowling the listener over: rather, the voice delivers these meaningful songs with the certainty of goods delivered to you in a basket. Creed's vocal abilities are matched by good guitar-playing, and even better piano. (She performs the keys on most of the album's tracks.) One can tell Creed has listened to and performed a great deal of music, but her original material has a very definite personal stamp.

Some of this conviction of originality derives from the personal--almost confessional--quality of her songs. "Girl Child (A True Story)" involves the mystery surrounding Carey's origins; her honesty stuns the listener, but the song's wryness, and her act of forgiveness in the chorus--"Thank you for these 39 years"--reveal an emotional maturity, strength, and depth of character rare these days and usually absent from the fluff of most popular music. "Gloria," meanwhile, transcends the pain of a friend's struggle with AIDS and drug addiction. Carey Creed is a woman from whom we can learn about living courageously and with love, in addition simply to enjoying her songs.

Touched, people do come up to her during breaks in a show to converse, and she has followers who regularly request certain of her songs. This is objective evidence that Carey possesses a definite spiritual power as well as musical prowess.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the virtuoso playing on Plum Branch. Al Petteway peforms head-turning guitar-picking on the track just mentioned, "Girl Child," and the slide guitar by John Albertson (who teaches guitar at George Washington University) on "Buyin' Something" is a romp. Vocally, Carey's duet with Tom Prasada-Rao on "Reflections" is like braided strands of spun gold and silver. Carey's piano is always pleasing, and Bob Read laid down nice keys using his Czechoslovakian Petrov piano on "Candlelight." Plum Branch, too, was recorded and mixed very effectively and clearly, even though Read's home studio south of Charlottesville is not the most technologically advanced by any means. The recording was just made with a lot of love and skill.

Progressive acoustic music fans...connoisseurs of touching and well-written songs, and music lovers looking for quality local product will want to own Plum Branch...Do yourself a favor, music lover: discover Carey Creed.

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Excerpts from "Carey Creed, Plum Branch" synopsis
by Bud Newman, Folk News: The Newsletter of the World Folk Music Association

...Creed has a fine voice, reminiscent at times of Judy Collins, and a style that fans of Collins would be comfortable with on most songs. She accompanies herself on piano and several songs feature a soprano saxophone. An electric guitar is heard on a couple of songs, including "Starlight," which opens the album and is a highlight, even though it is not typical of the softer sound on the rest of the album.

Aside from the spirituality, Creed offers a compelling song called "Gloria" about a black woman with AIDS and "Girl Child (A True Story)," about a fling between a college professor and student 39 years ago that resulted in a pregnancy that was not aborted, despite advice from friends of the woman to "get rid of it; don't throw your life away." The unwanted baby was put up for adoption and became...Carey Creed. Al Petteway's guitar work helps make "Girl Child" an album highlight.

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Excerpts from "Carey Creed: Metaphysical Folkster"
by Patti Brett, Music Monthly

With one Wammie already under her belt (Best Female Gospel Vocalist 1992), one past nominaton (Best Contemporary Folk Album, Plum Branch, 1993), and two current Wammie nominations (Best Contemporary Female Folk Vocalist and Best Artist--OVERALL!)--you could say that Carey Creed's star is rising. But it has been shining oh so brightly all the while.

A Falls Church, VA native, Creed was a Fine Arts dropout when she was gently guided into the musical profession by her...husband, Jim [Creed-Detorie]. "He was the one who got me to play professionally, " she enlightens, "...I'd worked in offices for years as a technical editor, and I was really getting burned out. He said, 'You know, why don't you use your music?' I haven't had a day job for years. The last one I think stopped in about '86 or '87."

In downtown D.C., near Union Station, the 'fessed-up dilettante-turned-troubadour secured her first gig at the Tiber Creek Pub circa 1980-81. "It was the greatest first gig I could've had because they had a grand piano, a stage, a mic and a sound system. All I had to do was show up, plug in, and play for happy hour a couple times a week. Carole King, James Taylor, whatever people wanted to hear." While there, she hooked up with a group called Second Wind, and filled in for the...bass player until the purchase of a keyboard put all of her fingers to work. And so, Creed began the life of a working musician on her way to a complete career transition.

...With Doc Scantlin and the Imperial Palms Orchestra...Creed added the music of the '20s and '30s--Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith and the like--to her ever-growing repertoire. While still holding down a day job, the well-laid plans of the silver-voiced songbird were not to be stalled by young widowhood. Her husband, who had been teaching English to newly-arrived immigrants, died after a life plagued with medical problems. Creed carried on, with a well full of wishes to chase down memory lane.

In 1984, she formed a jazz duo with...Bob Williams...This evolved into the country rock trio, Trilogy, with the addition of Susan Queen...Simultaneously, Creed ventured into the world of Washington gospel by joining the St. Augustine Gospel Choir...In 1991 or thereabouts, she ran into the underwear-woman, Eileen Joyner...Joyner's loquacious showmanship helped Creed to foster the stage command that hadn't been totally there.

By 1993 Creed's laurels included two First Place and one Second Place spot in the Songwriters Association of Washington Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest, one Wammie, another Wammie nomination (for her debut CD of that year), and two Honorable Mentions in the Billboard National Song Contest.

...[Her] debut CD, Plum Branch, features such illustrious studio staff as Tom Prasada-Rao (on a smooth R & B duet as well as guitar, violin, and mandolin accompaniments) and Al Petteway. Songwise, the contents are soft-spokenly politically-correct. Gentle lessons about adultery, drug addiction, and adoption (a rare, touching thank-you to a mom who sacrificed her social dignity for her daughter's future) are all preceded by the last cut and shining jewel of the disc--"Prayer of St. Francis." This modern motet is hypnotic, and lends a light to the deep spirituality living inside this little lady.

A lover of animals, the outdoors, and the metaphysical pursuits of the mind, Creed's personal goals are "to cultivate more of an inner life. I really like to read and be quiet and just think about things. I like to be outdoors...What I want more than anything is to be able to look back on my life and say that whatever I had to give, I gave it. I want to make some kind of difference to somebody, make them feel better or help them think...or even just have more fun. I think music is a great way to do that..."

...All this writer can say is that there's not many a day or night when I feel good to be Catholic (not a big part of the program, you know), but "Prayer of St. Francis" actually makes me feel that way. So Carey, you GOTTA be doin' something right. And I'll be watching for when your star goes supernova.

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Excerpts from "Carey Creed, Plum Branch"
by JC in The Performing Songwriter magazine, March/April 1994.

Christian haiku--a contradiction, it seems, unless you listen to the compact...lyrics and lilting treatments of DC-based Carey Creed. This duality can be seen in her attractive scorings of two, millennium-old lyrics: a Vietnamese poem by Man Giac, "Rebirth," and "Prayer of St. Francis." Both are arranged, played and sung with taste.

Creed's best originals share this gift for sensitive simplicity. I liked "Reflections," featuring a vocal duet with Tom Prasada-Rao, plus a klezmer-accordian-accented "This Wedding Day." Subjects close to her heart, like these two, uplift in short strokes.

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CAREY CREED, "Peace of Wild Things," Azalea City

YOU NEEDN'T BE a fan of Joan Baez and Judy Collins to appreciate Carey Creed's new album, but you'd have a heckuva head start.
Creed has a lovely voice, a soprano that brings a certain purity and elegance to the performances on "Peace of Wild Things." In fact, most of the songs wouldn't sound out of place on vintage recordings by Baez or Collins, whether it's the reflective title track, written by Paul Reisler; or the antiwar anthem "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier," orchestrated for solo piano by Creed; or the folk chestnut "Shady Grove."

When the mood is intimate and tender as on "Who Do I Love?" a mother's ode to her child, Creed's voice is as warm as it is naturally tuneful. She displays her whimsical side, too, most notably while teaming with duet partner Randy Barrett for "Band of Twelve," a Bob Devlin-penned novelty that hinges on its chorus: "Jesus had a band of twelve/But he never made a record deal."

As on previous recordings, Creed is surrounded by kindred spirits in the studio. Many well-known performers in the Washington area contribute to the album's acoustic charms, including Zan McLeod on guitar/bouzouki, Sue Richards on Celtic harp and Jody Marshall on hammered dulcimer.
– Mike Joyce, The Washington Post