About

Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack of the duo Switchback have been playing their brand of eclectic Celtic and Americana music at sold-out concert halls, performing arts centers and festivals around the world for over twenty years.  Switchback concerts feature a mix of Irish music and original songs from their catalog of over 300 tunes which have been described as “breathtaking scenery for your ears.”

Switchback plays an exciting mix of mandolin, guitar, and bass and their harmonies have won them comparisons to famous duos, such as the Louvin Brothers, the Everly Brothers, and Simon and Garfunkel. Music Connection Magazine said of Switchback: "The words ‘American Roots & Celtic Soul’ only begin to describe this unusual act, whose vocal prowess is as pure as it is unique...there is no denying the stunning vocal blends that are achieved by this duo."

Their Celtic music is authentically Irish, drawing praise from such traditional players as Matt Molloy of the group the Chieftains. Ireland has taken Switchback to her heart, with performances at art centers throughout the country and appearances on RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). At the same time, their music is modern Celtic, with songs capturing the Irish of today as accurately as the Pogues and singer-songwriters like Christy Moore.

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In the Press

As seen on PBS, Switchback’s music is energetic, soulful and versatile, combining elements of Americana-country, rock and Celtic. With superb songwriting and harmonies, and showcasing a repertoire ranging from sentimental ballads to blistering rockers, Switchback offers a concert guaranteed to please.

"It was a FANTASTIC total experience! These folks are so talented and personable!"
~ Kathy Diedrick, audience member, Woodstock Opera House, Jan 2016

Audio and Video

Song samples from Switchback's concert recorded live in 2015 by WYCC PBS for the "Music on the Mayne Stage" series in Chicago. Features Brian FitzGerald (guitar, mandolin, lead vocals), Martin McCormack (bass guitar, lead vocals), Andon Davis (guitar, vocals), Paul Von Mertens (flute, saxophone, vocals), Joey Werner (drums).
Switchback is an American music duo with several full-length recordings released, the earliest of which dates back to 1994. The music of the band falls into the Americana and traditional Celtic genres. For over two decades, the musical partnership of Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, known as Switchback, has been entertaining audiences around the world with their unique American Roots music blended with Celtic Soul.

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PROGRAMS

Traveling Down an Irish Road
Switchback is no ordinary Irish band. FitzGerald and McCormack have written many Irish songs that ring as true as the ancient ballads of Finn McCool’s time and yet, as Irish-Americans, their sound carries a musical distillation that rings Irish but with a slight bluegrass resonance.

Rivers, Rails, and Rodeos: An American Musical Portrait
Americana Music is an amalgam of roots music formed by shared and varied traditions. During Switchback’s Americana concert, songs about dryland farming, twisters and the flooding along the Mississippi are interspersed with tunes about lonely truckers, working families, soldiers and even a late night romance in the haybarn. And in true Midwestern fashion, even some of the more serious topics are presented with a wry sense of humor. The duo will play mandolin, acoustic guitar and bass and are known for an almost brother-like blending of voices.

An Evening with Switchback
Switchback draws on traditional Celtic music and original Americana songs that reflect their Irish heritage and Midwestern roots. Showcasing a repertoire ranging from sentimental ballads to blistering rockers.

The concert features a mix of original and traditional Irish music and a selection of songs from Switchback’s catalog of over 300 original Americana tunes. 

A Switchback Christmas***
Switchback’s holiday concerts are always a crowd-pleaser with lots of audience involvement and singing along with the band on well-known favorites such as “Jingle Bells,” “Away in the Manger,” “Up on the Housetop,” and "White Christmas." The show is also filled with stories of their travels and has a healthy dose of comedy thrown in for good measure. One of the highlights of the evening is a performance of “Ave Maria” by the classically-trained McCormack. 

***Tours annually every November through early January***