We recently received an email from a new fan in Sweden:
"I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your music!! Are there any new tracks from you coming soon? :)
From Sweden with Love,
To answer Ilona’s question: Yes, we are recording some new tracks! However they might surprise Ilona and some of you, too.
Brian and I have been working on a special project with Paul Von Mertens, who is the arranger for Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Paul has been helping us arrange music we have written for a series of five Catholic Masses. At the moment, we are working on the Hibernian Mass, which will be released on October 25 at St. Edmund’s Church in Oak Park, IL and will be followed by a celebratory concert.
What? Switchback writing sacred music? Why? As kids, both Brian and I were avid church musicians. Brian played guitar for years with St. Edmund’s choir in Oak Park. I was a cantor, played in the guitar choir, and sang in the classical choir at St. Mary’s Church in Woodstock, IL. I also was a member of the Gallery Singers for Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. (One of us was even an altar boy, but you will have to guess which one.)
Playing and singing in church was an important part of our musical development and one we didn’t give up once we formed Switchback. We showed up bleary-eyed at St. Edmund's during the early years, paying for our sins of the night before by getting up after a couple hours of sleep and heading off to Oak Park to rehearse and play a service.
The first Mass we composed was called the "Mass of Living Water." It first was played at St. Edmund’s Church in Oak Park and later for a special concert at the Shrine of Pompeii, Italy. Encouraged by the response of that, we created the "Mass of Healing," which was first performed at St. Laurence Episcopal Church in Conifer, Colorado. Following that came the "Unity Mass," which debuted at Saint Edmund's. Then Our Lady of Hope Church in Des Plaines, IL asked us to create a "Marian Mass" in honor of their anniversary.
What is "Hibernian" anyway?
Hibernia is a Latin word that means "sleepy" (think of "hibernate") and the Romans referred to Ireland as Hibernia during their conquest of England. Luckily for the Irish, the Latin name was the only Roman presence for the island. The Hibernian Mass illustrates the arrival of Patrick and the winning over of the trust of the Irish people in the new faith. So the Mass (and the album) will have a strong traditional Irish sound, featuring our good friend and bodhran player Jackie Moran as well as uilleann piper Sean Gavin. And Paul Von Mertens' expert musicianship will round out the sound.
The Masses are a departure of sorts from the albums we usually put out. But in a way, it has been refreshing to “go full circle” and create some music for one of our first patrons. We hope (and pray!) you will enjoy the Hibernian Mass and be curious to explore the other Masses as those albums are completed.