Guitarist B.G. McPike is joined by two-time Winfield National Mandolin Champion in a recorded collection of folk tunes from Ireland, Great Britain, and the Shetland Islands that also features Fulbright Scholar and Irish Whistler Nan McEntire. The album contains many traditional favorites including Londonderry Air, Banish Misfortune, Auld Lang Syne and others - along with a cover of The Beatles' 'Across the Universe' featuring the brilliant young mandolinist, Solly Burton.
B.G. MCPIKE is one of those extremely rare guitarists who has taken the time and pains to cultivate and maintain a professional caliber classical guitar technique without abandoning the popular, jazz, and folk styles in which he grew as a youngster, and in which he continues to grow today. A true life-long learner, he holds degrees in music from both Butler University and Indiana University, including a Doctor of Music in Guitar Performance and Literature with a minor in Jazz Studies. Among his doctoral advisers and professors were Ernesto Bitetti and David Baker. At Indiana he also furthered his interest in Brazilian music, learning a great deal from the virtuoso guitarist/composer/bandleader, Marcos Cavalcante, and performing in Cavalcante's Choro band in the mid-90's.
At age 20, he was selected as one of six guitarists from a nation-wide audition tour to perform at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. Since 2001 he has resided in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he has taught guitar at the Indiana State University School of Music. In 2008 he was awarded a regional prize, Arts Illiana's 'Bravo! The Arts' award as the Wabash Valley's Professional Artist of the Year. In March, 2009 he and guitar duo partner Dan Sumner took First Prize in the Professional Division of the Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Festival and Competition, playing mostly McPike's original works. Later in 2009 he performed 'Electric Counterpoint' by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steve Reich at Indiana State University's Contemporary Music Festival - after which Reich, who attended the concert, called it a 'fabulous performance.'
McPike's songwriting got him recognized by the 'Song of the Year' contest as one of the 'suggested artists' for September, 2009. A baritone/bass vocalist, he sang and accompanied the famous Indiana University Singing Hoosiers in the 90's.
SOLLY BURTON, has become one of the all-time great mandolin players by age 20 with two Winfield Championships under his belt to go along with a long list of other top prizes at Bluegrass festivals. By age 12, he had performed on stage with Ricky Skaggs. While his roots are in bluegrass and folk, Burton is an avid fan of the great Jethro Burns, whose work has inspired him to explore the music of 'The American Songbook'.
In 2009, Solly was featured on NPR's 'From The Top'. Also in 2009, Burton was honored with a "Bravo! The Arts!" award as the Wabash Valley's Outstanding Teen Artist. In addition to his accolades for his mandolin playing, he has also won the Indiana State Fiddling and Picking Championships' award for First Prize in Flat Picking Guitar (a contest in which McPike accompanied him and in which McPike also won the First Prize in Thumb Picking Guitar). Burton has appeared on NPR at other times: in Boston for an NPR fundraiser, and in Rochester, NY where he performed Vivaldi's 'Mandolin Concerto in C' with faculty members from Eastman School of Music.
Nan McEntire has been a scholar of Irish tradional music for many years and has traveled extensively in Ireland and the British Isles studying tune learning techniques - a topic for which she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the year 2010. Her whistle meshes beautifully with the guitar/mandolin duo of McPike and Burton, and together they provide what is not necessarily and attempt to sound Irish or British, but to perform the wonderful tunes from Ireland, Great Britain, and Shetland from their own angle - the result of which is remeniscent of American Western Music - which developed in no small part by the transport of these tunes by pioneering settlers travelling across the rugged North American continent. The players on this album are descendents of such pioneers.
"That was a really fabulous performance!" - Steve Reich (Pulitzer Prize-winning Composer) upon hearing McPike's performance of Reich's own work, 'Electric Counterpoint'
"Let's give a hand to Brent (B.G.) McPike, who in my opinion is the best guitarist in the city of Terre Haute." - JON SWANER (WTWO News Anchor, after a performance at a benefit to fight hunger)
"...the best guitarist in town" - Arthur Feinsod, Artistic Director of Crossroads Repertory Theater
"That was the best Rotary Club meeting I've been to in 30 years" -Retired Judge, Michael Eldred - after McPike & Burton's performance for the Rotary Club on 1/3/12.
"Great Playing!" - Denis Azabagic, one of the all-time winningest Classical guitarists in history, and author/presenter of Mel Bay video on preparing for competitions (after a duo performance with Marcos Cavalcante).
"I want that kid in my band!" - Steve Martin (after hearing a teenage Solly Burton at a bluegrass festival. (Good luck getting Solly off his farm!)