Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

The Road Less Traveled: Celtic-American Band Switchback to perform at CLC

Martin McCormack (left) and Brian FitzGerald of Switchback will perform at 7:30 p.m. May 6 in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. The concert is part of the Cultural Arts Series. Submitted

Switchback, a Chicago-based band featuring Celtic and Americana music, will perform at 7:30 p.m. May 6 in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. The concert is part of the Cultural Arts Series.

Switchback was scheduled to perform in Brainerd last November, but the concert was canceled because of a blizzard that struck the area.

"The show that we present is high-energy but very engaging," Martin McCormack, Switchback vocalist and bassist, stated in a news release. "The audience feels like they're part of the show. It covers a wide range of music. It's just a very down-home feeling when we take to the stage."

The duo of McCormack and guitarist/mandolin player Brian FitzGerald have been playing together for more than 20 years.

Switchback draws from a catalog of more than 300 original tunes plus traditional Irish music and some humor.

"We like to fly by the seat of our pants," McCormack stated. "We follow the energy of the audience. That group participation feeling is what it's all about. It's a lot of fun. We encourage the audience to clap, sing, make some comments, whatever they want so no concert is ever the same with Switchback."

Switchback plays a mix of mandolin, guitar and bass and their harmonies have won them comparisons to famous duos, such as the Louvin Brothers, the Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel.

Their Celtic music is authentically Irish, drawing praise from such traditional players as Matt Molloy of the group the Chieftains. Ireland has taken Switchback to her heart, with performances at art centers throughout the country and appearances on Raidió Teilifís Éireann. At the same time, their music is modern Celtic, with songs capturing the Irish of today as accurately as the Pogues and singer-songwriters like Christy Moore.

Switchback tours throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands playing more than 200 engagements a year. Their television specials "The Americana Sessions," "The Celtic Sessions" and "Music on the Mayne Stage" have aired on PBS stations throughout the U.S. The band has also been working with Paul Von Mertens, who arranged the music for "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" on orchestral scores for some of their original music.

"To be an independent musician is to take the chance that your life is going to be spent working and touring. It's not an easy life. The rewards outweigh all the suffering," McCormack stated noting that presenting outreach programs is paramount to Switchback.

McCormack stated, "It really is something magical to connect with people. Especially today, I think it's really important to build community in the communities. We live in such a divisive world. This is one place where people can let go of any kind of affiliation that they have, and they can just cut loose and enjoy themselves."

Tickets for Switchback are available online at www.clcmn.edu/arts or from the CLC box office at 218-855-8199.

The concert is sponsored by Prairie Bay Restaurant and is partially funded by a touring grant from Arts Midwest. The entire CLC Performing Arts Center season is made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

randomness