The Hippo


May 28, 2020








See it live
See Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki with B.A. Canning at The Stone Church, 5 Granite St., Newmarket, on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 9:30 p.m., and at the New Hampshire Acoustic Music Association Spring Fling at Tupelo Music Hall, 2 Young Road, Londonderry, on Saturday, March 4.

Into the Celtic cold
Former JamAntics fiddler goes solo with friends

By Michael Witthaus

Fiddler Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki did not take much time off after JamAntics, of which he was a member, disbanded in August. He found himself in the studio less than a month later, working on a solo album — his first in nearly a decade.

“I had all the material, but it had been on the back burner,” Tirrell-Wysocki, 25, said. “I didn’t have an outlet for it.” Doing some session work at Rocking Horse Studio in Pittsfield also reminded him how much he enjoyed recording music.

While Tirrell-Wysocki’s new CD, Into the Cold, is filled with the Celtic music he is known for, he attributes the quality of the record to the musicians who lent their sounds to it.

“I’m excited about the material,” he said. “[Each musician] brought their own influences and expertise and made it a million times better than it would have been if it were just me.” Contributors included members of the Dusty Gray Band and JamAntics.

The Celtic music took many of the artists out of their comfort zone, Tirrell-Wysocki said. “I think that worked to the betterment of the album because there was no preconceived notion of what they were ‘supposed’ to play … the result was not to fall back onto convention but to develop something new,” he said. Drum kits, electric bass, guitar and mandolin accompany Tirrell-Wysocki’s fiddle in many of the tracks on the 10-song album.

“The reason I feel this is a great album is because it’s something that hasn’t really been done before,” Tirrell-Wysocki said. “Not the fiddle part or the Celtic part but the collaborative element from people in other genres.”

“When that comes together it creates something new and harder to classify,” he said.
Only two songs on Into the Cold have lyrics: the title track and “More Than Friends.”

“I don’t usually write songs with lyrics, and in the case of these two — I hesitate to say it just sort of happened, but I didn’t set out to write songs with lyrics,” Tirrell-Wysocki said. “I had something in my head and needed to put it into words. I was an English major after all, so I thought I would put [my education] to some use.”

Tirrell-Wysocki called “More Than Friends” a “lighthearted first date kind of song” while “Into the Cold” boasts a slightly darker sound — “It’s a metaphor for change and moving on,” he said.

Tirrell-Wysocki, of Belmont, first picked up the fiddle when he was 8 years old, inspired by the Canterbury barn dance scene. He released his first Celtic music album when he was only 13 and his second three years later.

“The old New England and the Celtic genre have always really spoken to me,” Tirrell-Wysocki said. “I’ve loved that music my entire life.”

When he is not playing a gig as part of a trio with Dusty Gray Band guitarist Matt Jensen and bassist Chris Noyes, Tirrell-Wysocki performs with the entire Dusty Gray Band, Tom Lanigan Band and Pressure’s On.

“The more different people that I play with — it helps me grow as a musician,” he said. Tirrell-Wysocki teaches fiddle and works as a courier when he is not on stage. He has set his sights on playing music full time.

It is the unknowns that come with performing that he enjoys most — “The mistakes that turn into things you try to repeat,” he said. “The spontaneous magic of being in the middle of a song and not knowing how the crowd will react … the energy of the room, the energy of the crowd.”

“I just love the give and take,” he said. “Especially with instrumental music. I can have a conversation with people without using any words.”

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