When two musicians find themselves compatible with each other, distance matters less. Fiddler Ryan McKasson, who lives in Tacoma, WA and Boston-raised singer/guitarist Eric McDonald, of Montreal, Canada, are a top-notch duo that play traditional music of Scotland, Ireland and North America. They recently visited WMUK while touring with their new album, Harbour.
In the studio at WMUK with Cara Lieurance, McKasson and McDonald talk about their individual histories with traditional music. McKasson admits he was not making much progress in the Suzuki method as young classical player, but something clicked when he began fiddling. He pursued classical training with the legendary violist Donald McInnes, who encouraged his passion for celtic music. McDonald, who grew up in a folk music community centered around Club Passim in Boston, was an adept bluegrass mandolinist before applying his skills toward celtic guitar technique. (His advice for celtic accompanists is not to get "glued" to chord patterns.) McKasson and McDonald demonstrate their dynamic playing in two dance tune sets, and offer two contrasting song settings of Child Ballads, "Geordie," and "Bay of Biscay."