Syncopaths | Five Gears

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Folk: Celtic Folk World: Celtic Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Five Gears

by Syncopaths

This CD encompasses a wide range of textures including traditional fiddle tunes, modern tunes, and songs with beautiful vocals. With fiddle, viola, mandolin, guitar, piano and bodhrån, "Five Gears" offers something for anyone who loves Celtic music!
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Fifth Gear
4:53 $0.99
2. Keg of Brandy
3:31 $0.99
3. Blackest Crow
5:09 $0.99
4. Sarah-Jane
5:41 $0.99
5. Hey, Donal
2:37 $0.99
6. Secret Room
5:58 $0.99
7. Who Will Sing Me Lullabies?
3:24 $0.99
8. Meriweather
2:47 $0.99
9. Bronwyn Leigh
6:01 $0.99
10. Loughrask
5:07 $0.99
11. Will You Marry Me?
3:58 $0.99
12. The Very Last Straw
4:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Five Gears" is the Syncopaths' second CD. Recorded across a span of two years, this album features a mix of original and traditional tunes and songs drawn from the Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions. The Syncopaths combine fiddle, mandolin, piano and bodhran to create a contemporary, west coast Celtic sound. Their first CD, "Rough Around the Edges" was recommended as a "must-hear" album by the Irish Herald.

Ryan McKasson (fiddle, viola) is a two-time US national Scottish fiddle champion who has worked with Phillip Glass and Elvis Costello, among others. Ashley Broder (mandolin) spent five years touring the US in a critically acclaimed duo with fiddler Jamie Laval. Jeff Spero (keyboard) is a contra dance caller, composer, and musician in a number of successful contra bands. Christa Burch (bodhrán, vocals) has an expressive voice and a strong background in Celtic music, previously working with Alasdair Fraser, Dennis Cahill, and John Doyle, among others.

“Five Gears” arcs from high-energy dance tunes to contemplative songs, testifying to the band’s dance-hall roots as well as its polished concert skills. Contra dancer, folk musician, singer, or simply curious -- there’s something here for every listener.



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Hearth Music Loves "Five Gears"!
On their new album, Five Gears, The Syncopaths are tapping into a chamber folk world of complex, choppy rhythms and instrument virtuosity that has propelled bands like Crooked Still to the top of the folk charts. It's a great sound and they wear it well. To make this style their own, they've adopted contra dance music traditions to lay their musical foundation. Each member of The Syncopaths is a tried-and-true virtuoso on their instruments. Fiddler Ryan McKasson cut his teeth in the wonderful family band The McKassons. Based in Scottish fiddle traditions, The McKassons were one of the best Celtic bands to come out of the Northwest and could have easily toured all over given the caliber of their music-making. Mandolinist Ashley Broder joins the band from her previous tours with fiddler Jamie Laval. She's a monster picker, bringing in strong counter-point harmony and dead-set melody playing and an ability to jam without sounding generic, a very difficult thing indeed. Pianist Jeffrey Spero provides wonderfully varied accompaniment of the rare sort that manages to draw out sides of the music you've never heard before. Thumbs up for that! But the real pleasure of The Syncopaths for me is the singing of Christa Burch. It's not common for contra dance bands to include songs, so this is a much-needed departure from the tradition. And her voice is so sweet and smooth, that when put together with the bands' rich arrangements, you have one hell of a great sound.

I think of The Syncopaths as the Ani Difranco of the contra scene. They're a helluva band to try and imitate and I doubt anyone could do justice to their virtuosic tunes, but they surely rock the hell out of a contra dance! With a busy schedule of touring, it's clear that I'm not the only one realizing how hot this band is making contra dance music.