Katie Kelly & The Charming Beards have been playing together since 2012, but until this week, the only way you could hear the Wilkes-Barre band’s music was at its shows. That finally changes with the release of “Cigarettes and Whiskey,” the group’s 5-song debut EP.The band — Kelly (vocals, guitar), Ray Novitski (guitar) and Theresa Lazzari (drums) — honed their live act at various venues and events in Northeastern Pa. before capturing that live energy in the studio with Mark Wohl, of area band Mock Sun. The Charming Beards didn’t have much time to finish tracking, as Lazzari was about to move to Philadelphia.We recently chatted with Kelly about the new album — including the track “Shining Star,” which makes its debut here today — the definition of “outerfolk” and what’s next for her and The Charming Beards.

H81R: In the press release for “Cigarettes and Whiskey,” you call the music “Outerfolk.” What does that mean?

KK: Outerfolk was a term that came up from many conversations with bandmates and people within our musical family. For a while, The Charming Beards were expected to play conventional folk music at gigs, and when we didn’t… well, we lost two very big gigs because of it.

I was very worried that my songwriting and music was heading into a slightly different direction. It was more than just simply switching to an electric guitar. I love folk music and will always love playing it, so the new direction never abandoned anything, it rather expanded upon it. So, while chatting with Theresa, Ray and Rennin Davidson (of Harlot), we agreed on a meaning of Outerfolk. Attaching a genre to your music is a difficult task anyway and leads to confusion, so we figured we’d invent our own.

I loosely defined Outerfolk as a genre of music that incorporates the tradition of telling a story in its songwriting, but has alternative instrumentation and arrangement. I will write a song on an acoustic guitar that if played live would sound like Appalachian folk, but with the addition of Theresa’s drumming, Ray’s unique approach to sonic texture and electric guitars, sounds much different.

H81R: Has the drummer Theresa been replaced for the live shows?
KK: I honestly don’t think I would want to play live shows as The Charming Beards without Theresa. I’ve been playing as an acoustic duo with Aaron McCurdy (bass, mandolin, vocals), but it wouldn’t be the same without her. Playing on stage with Theresa Lazarri is a slice of heaven. We have an amazing chemistry on stage. She plays her heart out.

H81R: Where does the new EP represent where the band is at right now?
KK: Right now, The Charming Beards aren’t afraid to wander creatively for a bit. This EP was done with very few overdubs and essentially represents what you would hear if you came to one of our shows. We needed it to sound like that. These songs were written and then tested on our audience for over a year. Although we’ve been writing like crazy, these five songs are a staple in our setlist.

I think the songs jump around a little bit, we have a hip-hop bit, a jam-band-esqe 45-second homage to Bobby Light… but I feel the sound is cohesive. I like to believe that as long as the key elements of the band are present (Theresa, Ray, Aaron and myself) we will make sense.

H81R: What’s next for the band? A full album?
KK: We hope to do a hometown show in December to thank our dear friends who continually inspire and support us to pursue our art.

In 2015 we will be recording a full-length album with Joe Loftus of JL Studios. We have been so fortunate to work with such talented engineers such as Joe Loftus and Mark Wohl (who recorded this EP).

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