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Small Engine / Bio

What happens when a NY Blues Hall of Fame Guitarist/Singer combines forces with a Master Folk-Noir Songwriter? Small Engine. Chugging forward. Steadily and soulfully persistent. Think Bonnie Raitt teams up with Johnny Cash. Great material, great chops, a great show.

The year was 2008...just before it became the sixth coolest town in the Northeast USA, Dave Kearney and Elly Wininger met at a party in Phoenicia, NY. They found that they not only loved the same songs, but that their interpretations meshed to create exciting new versions. Both powerful songwriters, when their original songs took flight with the same synergy, they knew they had something worth sharing. They have been performing ever since, in clubs, coffeehouses and concert halls, as Small Engine.

Dave Kearney got his first guitar, a Sears Silvertone with hula dancers on it, from his father when he was nine years old. By age fourteen he was playing USO shows in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area. He was a founding member of “Reed Street,” opening for national acts including The Hollies, Ted Nugent, the Amboy Dukes, Steppenwolf, Seals and Croft, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Then in 1971 he formed the alt-country band “Backslider.” This group played concerts, clubs and festivals from Delaware to Key West, opening for John Prine, Pure Prairie League, Asleep at the Wheel, and Ronnie Milsap. In both of these bands, Dave was the primary songwriter, and his songs have been recorded by Del McCoury and other Nashville artists Says Kearney, “I like to create a connection between the audience and the performer, so that we don’t feel so isolated.”

Elly Wininger has been called everything from a ‘folk-blues legend’ to a ‘musical explosion.’ Getting her start in the folk revival scene of the 60’s & 70’s, Elly was a guitar student of David Bromberg. She is an award-winning songwriter and has been writing songs and picking guitar in clubs, coffeehouses and concert halls, while producing and hosting radio shows, and teaching songwriting to kids and adults of all abilities. In 2007 she released her first solo CD, “Back Eddy Blues” which has been getting airplay on Americana and folk stations all over the US, Europe, the UK, and Australia. She was chosen to perform in the “Folk DJ Favorites” showcase at the 2008 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference and was a Formal Showcase Selection at the 2010 Midwest Folk Alliance Conference. Elly’s most recent CD “Part Time Paradise” charted #54 on the Folk DJ charts in 2010. When not touring, she hosts “Catskill Cabaradio,” a live webcast variety show, for Catskill Community Radio out of Pine Hill, NY.

General Info

Band Members
Elly Wininger and Dave Kearney
Artist Name
Small Engine
Profile Page
Active Since
Folk / americana

Contact Info

Woodstock, NY

Similar Artists

  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Johnny Cash