Scythian, the Virginia-bred Celtic rock group, knows a thing or two about the rigors involved in becoming classically trained musicians. But what sets the quartet's new CD apart has a lot more to do with passion than with pedigree. The buskers-turned-band specialize in fusing Celtic, Gypsy and rock traditions with all the energy, affection and wit they can muster, which, as it turns out, is more than enough to justify the group's billing as "Celtic Adrenaline Pushers."
On "Immigrant Road Show," the band occasionally pays tribute to kindred spirits, first with a suitably barbed and boisterous rendition of Goats Don't Shave's "Hills of Donegal," then with a harmonious, pulsating take on the Pogues' "Tuesday Morning." Scythian even pulls a chapter from Commander Cody's "Tales From the Ozone" CD, fashioning a fresh arrangement of "Gypsy Fiddle" that moves from rhapsody to romp. A couple of original tunes also make the cut, including singer-guitarist-accordionist Danylo Fedoryka's amusing, tongue-tripping travelogue "Highway 81."
Mostly, though, Fedoryka and sibling Alexander, on fiddle, vocals, guitar, mandolin and harmonica, spearhead a sound that searches beyond contemporary sources for inspiration, be it a Gershwinesque flourish or a Scottish war chant. Fiddlers Fedoryka and Josef Crosby thrive on fast tempos, and percussionist Michael Ounallah keeps the fires stoked -- that is, when he isn't sustaining a swing pulse that leads to other adventures en route to the band's foot-stomping, bottle-hoisting performance of Pete St. John's "Fields of Athenry."