An audience from ten states gathered at the famous WTTW Studio A in Chicago to hear Switchback and their guest musicians on a cold February day, and they were treated to a special performance by a talented duo at the top of their musical craft. The Americana Sessions showcase two decades of songwriting that need to be experienced by music fans everywhere. Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack are virtuoso performers with an easy charm that has been missing from the current music scene. This first full-length DVD recording of a Switchback concert truly captures the spirit of a live performance.
Switchback's Americana Sessions were recorded at WTTW-TV in Chicago, in the legendary Studio A, home of the original Soundstage series. Shot by a veteran crew, the Switchback Americana Sessions were mastered by Emmy Award winner Jim Mancini, edited by Emmy Award winner Paul Thornton, and directed by Jack Ginay, also an Emmy winner and winner of the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux, Switzerland. These performances were produced by WTTW Production Operations VP Ron Yergovich. The Americana Sessions are a classic live studio appearance.
This DVD is Volume 1 of a two-volume set of the complete concert.
Martin McCormack and Brian FitzGerald, known as SWITCHBACK, first performed together as members of the Wailin' Banshees, an Irish band well established in the 1980's Chicago music scene. The band was successful, but Marty and Brian had a more far-reaching musical vision. They had begun writing songs which combined the rich Celtic musical traditions with a vibrant, infectious blend of blues, folk and jazz. It was music that told great stories, all the time beckoning your feet to move and your hands to clap.
In 1993, they left the Banshees to pursue this musical vision. In the 10 years and countless miles since that departure, SWITCHBACK has traveled the country, introducing their unique sounds to audiences of all types. They have played in clubs and pubs throughout the land, but have also brought musical education to many schools, and have appeared in numerous festivals, both Irish and otherwise.
In live performance, this duo constantly amazes audiences with the musical breadth and energy of a much larger band, and finally with the Americana Sessions DVDs there is a product that captures this live spirit. Brian weaves intricate figures with the mandolin, then moments later, opens the floodgates with powerfully percussive acoustic guitar work. His unique sound has its foundation in his many collaborations with Chicago's blues and jazz greats. Marty contributes pulsing, sinewy bass lines, tying the sound together, while giving it room to breathe. Beyond his instrumental work, Marty possesses a tremendously versatile voice. He is equally at home singing a raucous blues number or a gorgeous ballad. When the two band members blend their voices, the rich sound is well beyond the sum of its parts.