Out & About

May 1, 2014

America's premier folk duo

PLATTSBURGH — Songwriting success catapulted Steve Gillette’s musical career early on.

In the years since, he and his wife, Cindy Mangsen, have served up traditional and original songs on recordings and in concert.

On Friday, they take the stage at the Palmer Street Coffeehouse in Plattsburgh.


A southern California native, Gillette honed his chops in the singer-songwriter musical age. In 1965, Ian and Sylvia recorded his “Darcy Farrow,” titled in part after his sister, Darcy.

“When you’re a songwriter the best thing you can have happen is someone loves the song, to take it and run with it,” Gillette said.

“I was very lucky to have songs I wrote get recorded by people better known than me.”

These industry heavyweights included Garth Brooks, John Denver, Nanci Griffith, Waylon Jennings, Anne Murray, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Spanky and Our Gang, Don Williams and Tammy Wynette.

Denver covered “Darcy Farrow” on his first U.S. Top 10 album, “Rocky Mountain High,” in 1972. Gillette wrote the song with Tom Campbell.

“It was a really good thing for me,” Gillette said. “People at Vanguard Records offered me a recording contract with them. They were one of the two best folk labels along with Elektra. That album gave it validity, a stamp of approval when a record company puts it out.”


Afterward, he played the college circuit and folk and festival venues. He ran into Mangsen at a Rochester festival in 1988.

“I had a trio, a drummer and bass player and we traveled all over the country,” Gillette said. “Cindy was there with her trio, Herdman, Hills and Mangsen. They had wonderful three-part harmony and she seemed like a nice person.”

At the time, Mangsen lived in Vermont and Gillette was on the road and living in an Airstream.

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