Forging a new musical path: Ryan McKasson & Eric McDonald team up on their new album ‘Harbour’ |

Forging a new musical path: Ryan McKasson & Eric McDonald team up on their new album ‘Harbour’

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Ryan McKasson and Eric McDonald explore the dark corners surrounded by tradition. They pull influences from several parrallels to create an intensity that travels through darkness and light.
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WHO: Strings Concerts presents

WHAT: Ryan McKasson and Eric McDonald

WHEN: Saturday, February 17, 8:00PM,

WHERE: Off Center Stage at The Center for the Arts, 315 Richardson St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $20. Tickets at: BriarPatch Food Coop - 530-272-5333, or online at


In celebration of the release of their debut album “Harbour,” Strings Concerts will present McKasson & McDonald in a concert filled with toe-tapping jigs and reels and poignant folk songs at The Center for the Arts’ Off Center Stage on Saturday.

Ryan McKasson and Eric McDonald are masters of tradition who explore the dark corners floating on its edges. Pulling from parallel strands of influence, they create an intensity that traverses darkness and light.

McKasson is a regular performer in Nevada County as in instructor at Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp and Ceilidh in the Park concert. In 1996 McKasson became the youngest ever to win the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship and in 1997 he was awarded a Merit Scholarship for Viola Performance from the University of Southern California.

Ryan’s professional career took a step forward when in 2004 he spearheaded the formation and development of “The McKassons.” This group released two critically acclaimed albums, “Tall Tales” (2004) and “Tripping Maggie” (2006).

Over the years Ryan has recorded with a number of influential artists, namely his playing appears on fellow Scottish fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel’s three albums “Silver” (2006), “For Reasons Unseen” (2009), and “Dot the Dragon’s Eyes” (2013), as well as Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas’s recording “Highlander’s Farewell” (2011).

Nearly a decade after studying at Berklee College of Music under world renowned musicians such as guitarist/mandolinist John McGann and cellist Eugene Friesen, Eric McDonald is now established as one of the USA’s premier accompanists. He cut his teeth playing for contra dances in New England, and can still often be seen from the dance floor.

Nowadays he is an active session player, regularly recording and traveling. Touring credits include The Outside Track, Andrea Beaton, Wendy MacIsaac and Katie McNally. His playing also appears on McNally’s debut album, “Flourish.” In addition to McKasson & McDonald, he can currently be seen touring with the lively Irish music trio Daymark, and Scottish music powerhouse Cantrip.

Despite both living an active musical life thousands of miles apart these two musicians have committed to working together to forge a new musical path.

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