Viewing: Radio, TV, Press - View all posts

King 5 Evening Magazine: Falling Snow 

The Gothard Sisters were featured on King 5's Evening Magazine with Michael King on December 8th.  The Seattle TV program went behind the scenes with the band at sound check for their Christmas tour in beautiful Edmonds, Washington and chatted about what they've been up to, Celtic music, how the sisters got started performing together, and their new Christmas album, Falling Snow.

Click here to watch the episode.

Vents Magazine Review: Falling Snow 

Vents Magazine, December 7th 2016
Review by William Elgin

These are hard albums to pull off. The seasonal music release is a long-time staple of the music industry and most of the examples we can recall are usually nothing more than well-produced cash-in releases not particularly invested in sincerely celebrating the season but rather entertaining those who do. However, The Gothard Sisters, based out of the Pacific Northwest, have a rather different take. Their ten song collection Falling Snow covers a number of “standards” that any adult music fan will recognize from countless Yuletide seasons gone by as well as a handful of lesser-recognized songs in the same tradition. They tackle the songs with a breadth of musical knowledge that often incorporates unexpected instruments and their interpretations of much of the material have subtle and imaginative variations on what we might expect. 

This is quite apparent on the opener “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, but not initially. The song begins with a languid, mood setting pace before the sisters spice things up noticeably. The song’s second half seems to better embody the joyfulness of the lyrics better than many other interpretations of the material thanks to its exuberance. Some of the album’s songs are instrumentals and few of them succeed more than the album’s second track “Christmas Flower”. The sisters, unsurprisingly perhaps, have excellent musical chemistry between them and trade off instrumental lines with a fluidity born of experience and artistic telepathy."

Read the full review on Vents Magazine.

Huffington Post: Gothard Sisters’ New Christmas Album Brings Trio’s Signature Celtic Twist to Old Favorites and New Originals 

November 28th, 2016
Huffington Post - Pam Stucky, writer 


Tis the season — the holiday season of course, but also the season when artists all over the world debut new music for all to enjoy in this most wonderful time of the year! 

Among this year’s seasonal offerings is Falling Snow, a Christmas album to be released this Saturday, December 3, by The Gothard Sisters. This trio of multi-talented sisters from the Pacific Northwest has been performing together since they were very young, and they travel tens of thousands of miles to perform hundreds of concerts every year. With their enchanting Celtic sound and charismatic personalities they’ve built up quite a following of loyal fans all over the world. 

The Gothard Sisters are Greta, Willow, and Solana Gothard. I had a chance recently to catch up with them to chat about the album. 

PS: Tell me about the new CD. Is there a theme? 

GS: Our new album is called Falling Snow, and it is a full Christmas album. We came up with the name because as we were compiling the collection of songs for this album there ended up being a common theme, which was snow, snowy landscapes, falling snow, etc., in the winter time. The title actually comes from a line in “Still, Still, Still,” an Austrian carol on the album, which describes the lovely feeling of safety and warmth at Christmas time when you are inside and the cold snow is softly falling outside. “Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow.” 

Read the full interview on Huffington Post.

Celtic Mp3s Magazine: Mountain Rose Intricate Blending of Old and New 

Celtic Mp3s Magazine:  These three marvelously talented sisters have come a long way from playing for tips at their local farmers market. Having been recognized in 2011 by Celtic Radio for Album of the Year and again in 2013 by the Irish Music Awards as the Best New Irish Artist, these sisters continue to be recognized nationally and internationally.   Coming from the Pacific Northwest, while their music is certainly based in the Celtic Music genre there are obvious western and Canadian influences. Their music possesses a warmth and authenticity that connects to their audiences in an engaging and energizing manner. Their latest album, Mountain Rose, is no exception. Released in June 2015, this album showcases their ever growing maturity where old classics continue to evolve and original songs shine and blend well with the style of music that influenced them. 

While the Gothard Sisters do record some traditional songs and covers that highlight their roots they give these songs their own personality. It is an intricate blending of the old and the new. For example, some of the more traditional tracks on this album are the Scottish anthem “Auld Lang Syne” and the Americana tune “St. Anne’s Reel.” The percussive nature of “Auld Lang Syne” gives the song a very intimate and humble feeling, as one sitting around a campfire celebrating a comfortable new years with their loved ones. However, the fiddle does a wonderful job in highlighting some of the important phrases while keeping the signature melody. Then at the end, the track certainly takes on more of a celebratory tone that comes with a new beginning.

Read the whole review here

The Songs of Old Europe Premieres in Seattle 

The Gothard Sisters were honored to be included in a new documentary on the old folk songs of Europe  - "The Songs of Old Europe... Ancient Belarusian Folk Songs," directed by Volya Dzemka.  Footage from the Gothard Sisters' Christmas show were featured in the documentary.  You can see more about the film here:

The Songs of Old Europe
 

This unique feature-length documentary was made with the purpose of introducing people of the world to the beauty and richness of the oldest unaltered folk songs of Europe as they sounded, were performed and carried through the centuries by Belarusian villagers - ancient Belarusian folk songs.

Marc Gunn's list of Top-Played Celtic Music Bands of 2015 

Marc Gunn, musician, writer, and director of the Celtic Music Magazine and Irish and Celtic Music Podcast, has compiled a list of the Top-Played Celtic Music Bands of 2015, based on how many times an artist was played on the podcast.  

The Gothard Sisters are in the #2 slot, and the band is very flattered to be included!  You can check out the list of bands (all good groups worth checking out) and listen to Marc Gunn's great podcast for weekly Celtic music right here.

Fiddler Magazine: Kindred Spirits 

The Gothard Sisters - Kindred Spirits 
Fiddler Magazine - Winter 2015/16
By Mary Larsen

"Live performance is a fantastic thing.  It brings people together, it stops time, it communicates through music emotions and pictures and stories that everyone can experience together even if they are complete strangers!"  - Greta Gothard

Playing over 1000 shows since first performing as a group in 2006, the Gothard Sisters - Greta, Solana and Willow - continue to delight audiences with their high-energy performances.  Inspired early on by NPR's "Thistle and Shamrock" show, the Gothards were able to share their own music on the show this past August.

All classically trained on violin and competitive dancers, the Gothard sisters gradually made their way to fiddling and became proficient on a variety of other instruments as well.  They are also gifted songwriters and tunesmiths.  Their newly-released third album is called Mountain Rose, and is a lively mix of fiddle tunes and songs.

Growing up outside Seattle, the girls were homeschooled in their academics, and had outside teachers for music and dance.  With a can-do spirit, they learned not only the instruments, but also the skills necessary for a successful recording and performing career.  When I caught up with them during their fall tour this year, they were happy to share their experiences and some helpful tips.

After many years of classical violin studies and performance, what made you play your first fiddle tune?  Or had you played a bit of fiddle all along?
Greta:
 I started playing fiddle music pretty far along in my classical studies with a few lessons from a local Scandinavian fiddle teacher, as my mom has always had a deep love for the Scandinavian folk tradition and signed us up for lessons.  Willow and I learned a few Swedish and Norwegian tunes from this teacher, and when she found out we were also very interested in Irish tunes because of our Irish dance experience, she also started teaching us more Irish tunes as well.
A few years later we started becoming really into Irish music thanks to a CD that we listened to on road trips, called The Best of [NPR's] Thistle and Shamrock.  It was a CD that we only listened to when on road trips through the beautiful mountains of Washington state, and we became huge fans of all the artists on that album, as well as the music of Natalie MacMaster, Wolfstone, and Dougie MacLean, and I started arranging more and more music for us to play in a fiddle style together.  The music was so joyful, mysterious, timeless, brave, and really cool.  After that we were completely hooked on what we called "travel music" and the rest of the world calls "Celtic music!"

Willow, you play violin, bodhran, and mandolin - was mandolin relatively easy for you after your violin studies?
Willow:
 Parts of playing the mandolin were relatively easy to pick up after violin studies.  Fingering for scales is exactly the same on the violin as on the mandolin, but "picking" is completely different from "bowing!"  There are plenty of techniques that I'm excited about learning on the mandolin.  I love the difference in sound between the two instruments.  I've gained a much better understanding of chords when playing mandolin than I ever did on the violin.  I also find that writing tunes on the mandolin comes very naturally to me.  That was a fun surprise.

How did you learn your sound tech skills?
Willow:
 I learned everything I know about my sound equipment through trial and error, and by seeking advice from the professional sound technicians that I have worked with at shows over the years.  If I have a question about a piece of equipment, I can usually count on finding the answer either by researching online, or asking a sound tech about it!  Very often things will go wrong in a show - something will break or fizz out, and I have to quickly identify where the problem starts before the show gets stalled.  The more I learn about how the equipment works, the easier it gets to keep things running smoothly! 

Solana, in addition to violin, you play bodhran and djembe in the group.  What inspired you to learn djembe?
Solana:  I was listening to other recording and live performance artists I admired, and found the low sound of the djembe to be missing from our group.  I love percussion, and using various instruments to create the rhythms I hear in my head; djembe turned into another way of expressing those rhythms.  One of my favorite CDs to listen to when I was little was Mondo Beat, created by various percussion artists, focusing on world beat, African and Latin songs - perhaps that's where the djembe comes from!

You are also the lead singer of the group.  Did you ever have voice lessons, or is that a completely natural gift?
Solana:
 Good question!  I've loved singing since I was very little.  Sometimes songs that I had listened to recently, or the occasional one that I would spontaneously make up, say about blueberry pie, repeating my favorite part for several hours to the amusement of my sisters and parents!  As far as voice lessons go, I did take some irregularly between 2011 and 2013, when we were recording our albums Story Girl and Compass, and I felt like I needed some coaching.

With over 120 performances a year, was it ever difficult to keep up with your academic studies?
Greta:
 The first couple of years we were touring we all tried to bring along textbooks and notebooks and do studies on the road and it never worked.  It was much better to just cram it all in whenever we were at home.  These days though we are still always reading piles and piles of books whenever we're on the road - it's actually pretty funny how much we all read.  People I meet on the airplane always say "you really should get a kindle," pointing to my backpack full of books, but there is something about a real book that I still love so much that I have to bring heavy bags full of books.  So even though we're not technically in school, I would say that thanks to our homeschool training we are all very much life learners and being on the road helps with that because there is a lot of time for reading.

Read the full interview in Fiddler Magazine!

Wood songs Old Time Radio Hour #823 

The Gothard Sisters appeared alongside Belfast-based legacy band McPeake on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour at the beautiful Lyric Theatre in Lexington Kentucky on Monday night.  The program was taped live, featuring five songs performed by the sisters from their new album, Mountain Rose, and will be broadcast soon across the nation.   

Featuring music by the Gothard Sisters and McPeake, the program focused on the new, young, and contemporary takes on traditional songs from the Celtic nations.  The Woodsongs Old Time Radio hour is an all-volunteer-run, live audience radio and TV show broadcasting on over 500 stations, plus American Forces Radio network worldwide and public TV, and the Gothard Sisters' episode will air over the next few weeks and months in various formats. 

You can listen to the full episode, including music performances right here: 

Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour Episode #823

Gothard Sisters featured on NPR's "Thistle and Shamrock" Radio 


The Gothard Sisters were recently featured on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock radio program, hosted by Fiona Ritchie.  The radio program played "St. Anne's Reel" from the new album, Mountain Rose, and aired on August 20th, 2015.
You can read the show notes and listen to the episode right here.
The band was absolutely thrilled to be played on the Thistle and Shamrock, as listening to cassette tape recordings of this radio program on NPR all through their childhood was one of their main inspirations for playing Celtic music and their interest in fiddle music.
A huge thank you to Fiona Ritchie for playing St Anne's Reel, and we hope you enjoy the episode!

Irish American News: Mountain Rose Clever, Intelligent, and Very Easy On the Ear 

Piping it In - Jack Baker, Irish American News, Rampant Lion Celtic Traders (excerpt - August 2015)

The two CDs I have to review both came to me from the artists who recorded them and were wonderful surprises.  First is the latest from the Gothard Sisters, "Mountain Rose."  This is their third CD, and while I had heard of them, I had never heard them before.  What a lovely surprise!  They are great!  Three sisters, Greta, Willow and Solana, who started their career as classical violinists and who have obviously been singing together since they were babies, are the Gothard Sisters (www.gothardsisters.com.)  Based in Seattle, we have unfortunately not seen much of the sisters in this area but I sincerely hope that problem will be rectified soon.  Their music is a delightful blend of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, American Folk and original songs played on fiddle, guitar, bodhran, whistle and sung with just a taste of western influence that gives them a sound all their own.  Their original pieces are bright and well written and their original arrangements of classic tunes are clever, intelligent and very easy on the ear.  Their CD comes with a full lyric sheet, so you can sing along if you've a mind to.  They do a lovely rendition of Andy M. Stewart's "Queen of Argyll" and certainly my favorite rendition of Kate Rusby's "I Courted a Sailor."  Covers aren't their only glory, original tunes like "Cat in a Bush" and "Mountain Rose Waltz" are spectacular and certainly worth the price of admission.  This is a band that I am honestly looking forward to hear in person, but until I do I am going to enjoy their CDs for all they're worth.