Today we’d like to introduce you to Gordon and Christy McLeod.
Gordon and Christy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We, (Gordon and Christy McLeod), began playing music together in our first year as a couple in 1994. I was undergoing chemotherapy, and Gordon needed a guitar accompanist for his fiddle. He thought playing music would get my mind off feeling so bad. He was right!
Playing music together lifted us both up, added to the healing process and set us on a course of performing music in a band since 1995. As McLeod Nine Duo, (pronounced “Mc Cloud”) we have a love of music from all genres. Both of us are songwriters, and we also like to put our own spin on familiar cover songs.
In 2008, Gordon was named the winner of the Americana Festival Songwriting Contest in Nacogdoches, Texas, after being also awarded in 2006. McLeod Nine Duo performs and tours as a duo, featuring mostly original music in the Americana, Swing and Celtic traditions on fiddle, guitar, mandolins, percussion.
We have honed our harmonies, songs, and stories into a thoughtful and energetic musical experience. McLeod Nine Duo performances range from concerts, festivals, repeated concerts at the Dallas Museum of Art, corporate events, weddings, and house concerts. We have performed on the Irish radio, RTE while performing in Ireland.
We were part of an Irish music ensemble in France at Le Gran Bal Gennetines. The past three years, McLeod Nine Duo has toured through the West, and have been delighted with the warm responses we have received as well as the excellent opportunities to take in the beauty of the mountains.
McLeod Nine Duo has recorded two CD’s, as well as Gordon McLeod’s three solo CD’s, one of exclusively Irish fiddle music. Our duo is actively performing and booking tour dates for 2019. Whether a private house concert or a larger festival, McLeod Nine Duo loves to share our music with humor and connect with the audiences.
We like to mix in some fun, familiar cover songs as well, so our audience can be actively engaged and sing along. As a duo, our professional career started when we formed the Celtic-Americana band, Beyond The Pale, in Tyler, Texas, along with Patrick Thurmond.
Gordon has played music professionally most of his life in Country and Rock bands, but this was our first experience of being on stage together. Our line-up of Beyond the Pale changed in 2001, adding two DFW area musicians, Betsy Cummings, and John Delaney.
Beyond The Pale as a quartet is very active playing concerts and festivals, and has recorded six CDs. We also founded a string ensemble, The Aisling String Trio, with cellist Dirje Childs, and recorded and were active with that group for over ten years.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Our struggles have been much of what many folks experience in life. Starting out with me being newly diagnosed with breast cancer and playing music through treatment (I played our first gig with no hair). The death of family members, relocating from Tyler to Dallas, illness, changing jobs, broken bones… the stuff of life.
As far as musical struggles, we both feel very blessed by having each other to bounce ideas around, support each other, sometimes pushing each other to higher levels of creativity and performance. We have our own recording studio, which is a mixed blessing. Endless availability to create and also many opportunities to really push each other’s buttons. (We always make up!).
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
McLeod Nine Duo performs a VERY eclectic range of music on fiddle, mandolins, guitars, percussion, harmonica, penny whistle, clarinet, and vocal styles from sweet ballads to gutsy blues and harmonies. Our eclectic blend is probably the thing that sets us apart and makes our performances unexpected and interesting.
We can seamlessly go from an original Gypsy Swing song to rapid-fire Irish or Cajun fiddling, to a classic Folk-Rock cover to a thoughtful ballad on lilting mandolin. We can both rock out on guitars, move from Beatles to Bluegrass, throw in Americana mixes and end up a cappella. We never want our audiences to be bored or not be able to distinguish one song from the one before it.
We realize that the listening ear can only absorb a certain amount of new music, so we always try to mix in some familiar cover music so folks can toe-tap or sing along. One of our favorite things to do at parties or house concerts is getting the audience involved. We like to end with a medley of songs they can join in.
We also like to teach a few simple Celtic ceili-styles dances, done in lines or rings. This has always been a huge hit, whether at a house concert or a corporate event. Really makes for some fun memories for the guests and usually some memorable videos! Some of our musician friends from Ireland dubbed us, “Those happy people from Texas,” and we really are happiest meeting people and sharing music with them.
In addition to writing and performing music, Gordon also has been operating a recording studio in our home, both in East Texas and now in the Dallas area. He is an excellent producer, often lending his versatility as an instrumentalist to his client’s CD projects. He also leads fiddle workshops at festivals and music camps.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Always have faith in yourself and each other. Your dreams can come true. We love making people happy and sharing the gift of music. All of our lives we have wanted to be professional musicians and with persistence and hard work our music career has taken off.
We have also learned to make more time for writing, more time for performances and more time for touring and more time for creative reflection and new experiences! We quit our career paths as soon as we could, (Gordon is an engineer and Christy is a psychotherapist).
We now we know making music, meeting people and touching hearts with songs is worth its weight in gold!
- Website: www.McLeodNineMusic.com
- Phone: 903-530-1342
- Email: Christy@McleodNineMusic.com
- Facebook: @McLeodNineMusic