KATIE MCNALLY & NEIL PEARLMAN
The vibrant musical traditions of Scotland and Cape Breton take on new life in the hands of Katie McNally (“Exhilarating musicianship…electrifying” – Songlines) and Neil Pearlman (“a tremendous pianist” -BBC Radio Scotland). Based in Portland, ME, this duo is making waves internationally with their fresh approaches to traditional forms. Katie McNally has already made her mark on Scottish music in North America and her 2020 release “Now More Than Ever” has been praised as ground-breaking on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to fronting her own trio, Katie performs with Fàrsan, fiddle supergroup Childsplay, and has toured with such Celtic music luminaries as Carlos Nuñez, Karan Casey, and John Whelan. Katie has performed in the US and abroad at Celtic Connections, Celtic Colours, the Newport Folk Festival, and The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. Called “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil is recognized in many Celtic music circles for his unique approach to the piano. Rooted in traditional Cape Breton piano styles, Neil brings in ideas from many other genres and the result is an exciting new sound that remains true to its traditional roots. An accomplished Cape Breton step dancer as well, Neil grew up in the family band Highland Soles, led by father and mother Ed Pearlman and Laura Scott, both influential Scottish music and dance figures in the US. Neil currently performs in a duo with Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson and in the Gaelic band, Fàrsan.
WILL WOODSON & CAITLIN FINLEY
Will Woodson (flute, uilleann pipes) and Caitlin Finley (fiddle) play sparky and driving traditional Irish music that’s grounded in the textures and rhythms of the rich Irish-American soundscape of the 1920s and 30s. With roots in the living Irish musical cultures of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia, and a tremendous admiration for the first generation of recorded Irish musicians, the duo conjures up the sounds of the dance halls, vaudeville theaters, and house sessions central to Irish-American music from the first half of the twentieth century. Their 2019 debut album, The Glory Reel, recorded with Chris ‘Junior’ Stevens on piano, is full of swing, lift, and exuberance, drawing largely upon the repertoires of North Connacht and Ulster – a diverse set of influences that are channeled into punchy, powerful, and joyous music.