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Switchback is the award-winning duo of Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack "Energetic, emotionally charged and excitingly eclectic."
Switchback is the award-winning duo of Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack "Energetic, emotionally charged and excitingly eclectic."

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DOUG NEEDLES SWITCHBACK - An album review
By Doug Kamholz

[Our friends Martin and Brian have asked me drop the old phonograph needle on some of their tunes, perhaps some lesser known, and report back to everyone.]

I'll switch back to Switchback momentarily.

Four leagues inland from Lake Michigan lies Plymouth, Wisconsin. An old inn there called 52 Stafford boasts 19 guest rooms all named for Irish patriots, poets and saints. Irish is the menu, too. Every Wednesday night Stafford's front parlor bounces with ten or so musicians celebrating the Emerald Isle. They play next to the hotel's pub, ducking in now and again.

Brian FitzGerald's and Martin McCormack's 2001 album Nancy Whiskey also resounds with tried and true Irish tunes. It, too, has the feel of a pub and a party. Switchback was fresh from their Decorah, Iowa, gig at the Haymarket, someplace they call "a whiskey and beer swillin' joint . . barely under control." Their next stop in town was Luther College's radio station where Nancy Whiskey came to be.

Among this recording's mostly familiar songs, including the oft-requested " Danny Boy," is one with disputed parentage, not that that dulls its punch or gaiety. " Moonshiner" comes up from either Ireland or the U.S. (experts disagree) but it certainly goes down smoothly on both sides of the sea.

Brian is singing here for his pleasure and ours. The moonshiner, he says, is happy to go to some hollow and set up his still, claiming, "I'll make you a gallon for a ten-shilling bill." Must be fine hooch as that is $64 in U.S. money today. (Bob Dylan, apparently parroting Switchback, also sings this song and of late sells whiskey under his Heaven's Gate brand at $50 to $80 for a much smaller bottle.)

"Moonshiner" has a sing-song chorus that's only serious if you think more than intended: " . . If moonshine don't kill me, I'll live 'til I die." Brian turns to recitation for a few lines while Martin lays on some descant wailing that surely pinned the radio station's needles to red.

It's the same kind of nonsense we sang in grade school. Remember when "Big Rock Candy Mountain" offered up its cigarette trees and lemonade springs?

So it goes from " The Wren" to " Wild Rover" and back again. Songs for fun though not all without their notes of pathos and regret. Do take a listen. See if Switchback's CD (also included in their 20th Anniversary Collection) can do for you what the title tune's muse did for Brian when he sings, "Nancy Whiskey had beguiled me."

It is Wednesday as I write this. I'm heading back to Plymouth for more pub tunes. However, full disclosure demands I admit it's also for Ennis lamb shank in Guiness gravy. And maybe a kiss from Nancy Whiskey!

(Doug Kamholz is an itinerant washboard player who has freelanced for the New York Times, Washington Post and many lesser media. His most honest work was as a pig farmer in Central Illinois, where he now lives and occasionally makes dinner for Switchback.)

#DougKamholz #SwitchbackMusic #NancyWhiskey #DannyBoy #WildRover #TheWren #MoonShiner
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"How Art Bell Saved My Life," Marty's latest blog article. Loch Ness. Bigfoot. Aliens. Ghosts. Chaupacabra, and other late night radio discussions. Were you a fan?
https://www.waygoodmusic.com/blog/how-art-bell-saved-my-life #artbell #switchbackmusic

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Switchback is playing its only Chicago-area show on August 24 at FitzGerald's in Berwyn! This will be a blow-out party, a family reunion of friends and fans! The first set will be the duo, and the second set will be the FULL BAND. Party hearty with us and don't miss this one! Doors open at 7pm. Get your tickets now before they are all gone!
https://www.ticketweb.com/event/switchback-fitzgeralds-tickets/8469665
#switchbackmusic #FitzGeralds #chicago #chicagomusic

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You can see why our Costa Rica trip is so much fun! Join us in February 2019. Get $300 off by signing up before July 30. Email JeanneO@CelticTours.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJtmHH81Uvs&t=1s #switchbackmusic #costarica #adventuretravel

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Switchback's July newsletter https://conta.cc/2Llz2iG #switchbackmusic
The Begum of Bengal
The Begum of Bengal
myemail.constantcontact.com

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Airfare is now included in the cost of our Costa Rica trip next Feb. 9-15 AND you can get $300 off if you book before July 30. Sign up before it's too late! http://www.waygoodmusic.com/costa-rica-tour.html
#CostaRica #switchbackmusic
Costa Rica Tour
Costa Rica Tour
waygoodmusic.com

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Switchback's only Chicago area appearance in 2018. Don't miss it! Get your tickets now. #switchbackmusic #fitzgeraldsnightclub #chicago
https://www.ticketweb.com/event/switchback-fitzgeralds-tickets/8469665

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Only 13 seats are left for Switchback's "Tropical Ireland" Costa Rica trip next Feb. 9-15. We don't want you to miss out! Contact Jeanne right away at jeanneo@celtictours.com!
http://www.waygoodmusic.com/costa-rica-tour.html
#switchbackmusic #costarica #tropicaltravel #wintergetaway
Costa Rica Tour
Costa Rica Tour
waygoodmusic.com
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