Brothers of the Dark Earth
Gyspyfire weaves word and music into a rich tapestry based on a harmony that moves like a Celtic spiral dance. Their performance focuses on stories, with emotions ranging from the tragedy and sometimes black humor of lost love to the power and spirituality of causes lost and battles won. Their set list blends electric and acoustic, old and new, words and music, sensitivity and political incorrectness. Charlie Stacey is a prolific songwriter with a catalog of 170 songs and counting. He has been performing for almost 50, the past 20 primarily as a singer/songwriter and the past 13 with Cynthia and an amazing group of musicians under the banner of Gypsyfire. They have played Irish bars, listening rooms, folk clubs, and State Park amphitheaters from New Mexico to Washington D.C., the Texas Rio Grand Valley to West Virginia. The rest of the time Charlie works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at the Navajo Nation's Shiprock Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program. In a life before psychotherapy, Charlie spent 23 years in broadcasting as a TV news cameraman. Many of his story-songs came from places visited and people met as he traveled the world. Cynthia Whiddon Green grew up in deep east Texas, West Virginia, and the Washington D.C. area. She grew up with both the traditional music of these regions and the music of her ancestral home in the Highlands of Scotland. She has overcome years of classical voice training to return to her musical roots and provides the lead vocals on much of the music she brings to the band. In a parallel universe she teaches English and communications to high school students on the Navajo Reservation. In a life yet to come she hopes to pursue her love of Medieval Studies, in particular translating and working with writings of and about the Northern Saints of Medieval Scotland. Carl Freuden was born into a musical family in the upper Midwest and grew up listening to records by the Weavers. He began taking guitar lessons in the 8th grade and in college bought his first electric guitar and amp and went on to play in several bands. He ultimately moved from music to archaeology, but continued to play guitar whenever he could. Carl and his wife Kathy met via archaeology in 1992. They were married in 1996 and decided to form a band for the reception. The band, known only as the Wedding Band, consisted of four guitar players and a drummer, all archaeologists. In 1998 Carl, Kathy and a pennywhistle-playing friend founded the Celtic/Irish group Food for Thought.. In 2000 Carl ended his wandering lifestyle and took a job with the post office. Just after St. Patrick's day 2004 he joined Gypsyfire to play lead guitar, synthesizer, mandolin, and sing backup. Kathy Freuden won her first vocal solo in the first grade. She sang "Silver Bells" in the Christmas program and continued the tradition in second grade with her rendition of "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth." Having had such an auspicious beginning, she decided to sing her way through life, and in junior high school she joined a Madrigal group. The Madrigal group won several prizes in competitions and was eventually invited to carol on the Queen Mary during Christmas break. As an adult, Kathy has performed in clubs and bars on the East Coast and in Colorado. In 1996 she married Carl Freuden and sang at the reception in the Wedding Band. She later helped to found the band Food for Thought, which was her first experience with Celtic music. She continues her Celtic education with Gypsyfire. Bob Condon is the newest member of the band. He sat in at a performance at the Scottish Fiddlers Society pot luck in Aztec New Mexico and has brought his world class bodhran talents that adds to the traditional and yet bluesey flavor of Gypsyfire's performance. Bob has played with the very best including The Chieftans and Natalie McMaster. 'Brothers of the Dark Earth' is a collection of traditional Irish tunes and original story songs written by Charlie and honoring the traditions of the Celtic world of Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as the music as it traveled over the years to the Appalachian Mountains and became modern folk music. The tunes honor the traditions and yet add elements of blues and non-traditional vocal harmonies. This CD is old and yet new all at the same time.