MerleFest fan-favorite Scythian is launching its “Board Scramble Tour” this week just in time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2017. When you’re a Celtic rock band, St. Patrick’s Day is your Super Bowl and this year is no exception for the Washington, D.C.-based group.
St. Patrick’s Day 2016 found Scythian performing two private shows at Melmark, a not-for-profit organization providing residential, educational and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, brain injuries and other neurological and genetic diagnoses with service divisions outside Philadelphia and Boston. For free.
This year for St. Patrick’s Day you’ll have the chance to catch siblings Danylo, Alexander and Larissa Fedoryka along with FritzMcGirr and Nolan Ladewski at several all-ages shows including Greensboro, North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia. For free.
“When you tour all-year round dates, cities and venues tend to get scrambled,” Dan says. “But for us, this next run is hitting some of our favorite places to play and for all of us there is a sense of excitement. We’re going to places where our music is truly appreciated by every age group and it’s going to be a memorable St. Patrick’s Day and Border Scramble.”
Scythian, which means “nomad” in Ukranian (where the Fedorykas have their roots), has been described as fusing Celtic and Americana music with thunderous energy into what the band’s members call “immigrant rock.” And their tour schedule is truly in keeping with the group’s name.
“It’s gonna be an interesting run,” Dan says. “We’ll be back in Durham on Wednesday for the first time since we played the Back Porch Music Series in the American Tobacco complex and our first time at Motorco Music Hall, which looks like an amazing venue.”
Triangle residents may remember Scythian as the headlining band for First Night Raleigh 2015/2016 or the group closing out the Dance Tent at the annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) festival on Saturday night.
Thursday, March 16, the band heads north to the Corning Glass Museum in New York for a free all-ages show. “We’ve never been there, but apparently the museum is as amazing as is the concert series,” Dan says.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, there will be a big bash at Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co.Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co., 345 S. Elm St., Greensboro, where the show will be free and again for all-ages. “We love North Carolina,” Dan says. “Six tracks off of last year’s ‘Old Time Good Time Live ‘album were taken from our Greensboro show at The Blind Tiger. We go on at 7 p.m.”
On Saturday, March 18, the band heads north to Roanoke’s Fork in the Alley for the first time. “This will be our first time back in Roanoke in over a year since we last played The Kirk Avenue Music Hall, so we hope to see all our friends,” Dan adds.
“We’re calling it the border scramble because we play Wednesday in Durham, Thursday we fly up to Corning, New York, for a gig at the Glass Museum, and then the next morning the company jet is flying us to Greensboro for St. Patrick’s Day,” Dan explains. “Then it’s over to (Roanoke) Virginia on Saturday for ‘Fork in the Alley’ and finally closing in D.C. on Sunday for the 20th Anniversary Party for the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center.”
Yes, you read that right. The Kennedy Center, where the Millennium Stage has held a free daily, all-ages show for the past 20 years. “This is a huge honor for us to be the band chosen for this,” adds Dan.
Brian Lohmann, college buddy of the brothers Fedorykas and Appaloosa Roots Music Fest organizer, says, “It’s a huge deal for Scythian, considering the other acts who’ve been booked over the years, including Gladys Knight, Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin, Nickel Creek and They Might Be Giants, among many others.”
The March 19 show begins with happy hour at 5 p.m. when the first 1,000 people get a free 20th Anniversary T-shirt. Scythian goes on stage at 6 p.m. followed by New Orleans’ Big Sam’s Funky Nation. “This an all-out celebration in D.C.’s most storied venue,” Dan says. “It feels good to be closing out this run in our home town.”
Scythian will also be announcing the Appaloosa 2017 lineup from the stage with tickets launching later this month.
This week is just a warm-up run for the band’s 10th straight year performing at MerleFest, where the group started out busking for fans as they were leaving the festival.
What a difference a decade makes. “We will play five times in two days, including a Thursday night Dance Tent, and a Friday evening Watson Stage performance just before James Taylor and Jerry Douglas take the stage. Playing before James Taylor — bucket list item,” Dan adds.
In case you haven’t heard Scythian, here’s 60-second intro to the band that you can’t sit still to and will leave you humming their lively tunes long after the show.