The Old-Time Pharmaceuticals recently expanded into a folk quintet! Band bios for the new members–Jim Carlile, Spencer Taylor, and Stephanie Liu–will be coming shortly. In the meantime, you can find bios for the original ingredients–Pat DeSimio, the lead songwriter, and Abby Nayra, the multi-instrumentalist–below.
Folk songwriters, as so many of their songs will tell you, are powered partly by the desire to experience as much as possible of this vast, wonderful world, and partly by the desire to stay still long enough to tend to a particular part of it. Troubadours like Woody Guthrie thoroughly explored the potentials of musical life on the wandering side of this tension; Pat DeSimio is on the other side of the same coin—a troubadour with roots, sending out songs like cottonwood seeds while using the songwriter’s tools of language and storytelling to make a difference where he’s planted himself.
Across a life woven through with song, Pat also weaves words into plans and funding for work in education, the environment, and bridge-building cooperation. (Some of the larger, lived stories that Pat has helped write include Cruces Creatives, a nonprofit makerspace that offers people the tools, training, and community to make practically anything; CommunityShare Las Cruces, which connects teachers and students with community partners who can enliven education with real-world knowledge and projects; and the Seeding Regenerative Agriculture Project, which makes environmentally friendly agriculture easier to practice by connecting farmers and ranchers into a cooperative network with lots of support.)
Pat’s songs, like his other writing, are also crafted to bring people together and make the challenges of this life a little easier to work through, the joys of this life a little easier to attend to. Pull one of his songs from whatever air current brought it to you, and you just might feel that.
“You know, sometimes the humidity of the world takes its toll.
But Roots & Honey somehow fans the sweat.”
-Bill Golembeski, Folking.com
Pat lives and writes in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with the artist Lea Wise-Surguy (to whom he’s married), entirely too many books, and one kiddo.
Abby Nayra, an inveterate explorer of instruments, met Pat through the Las Cruces music scene, and the two quickly bonded over a shared love of Celtic music. They started playing music together in 2016 as an opening act for their friend Hana Zara when she toured Las Cruces, and the Old-Time Pharmaceuticals took off from there.
When not performing as a solo folk jazz singer-songwriter, with the Old-Time Pharmaceuticals, or with any buskers who stand still for too long, Abby coordinates the Community Partners in Education project, which connects teachers and students to subject matter experts from the community.