Review of Fifty/Fifty by Alex Monaghan of Folk World Magazine

“A meaty EP from some of Milwaukee’s finest, this recording showcases mid-western US fluters Asher Gray and Brett Lipshutz, bodhrán acette Amy Richter from the band Athas, and guitarist Randy Gosa who already has a fine album or two with Mr Lipshutz. All five tracks are flute led, except when Brett switches to bombarde. Myserk have a taste for the unusual, starting with a couple of mazurkas – one from the European café scene and the other from Donegal fiddler Tommy Peoples. Both are brilliantly arranged and executed, with bags of lift, and enough quirks to feed a fully-grown quirkivore. Track two takes a familiar Irish march and turns it into a wonderful waltz, joining it to Marcus Hernon’s Beautiful Goldfinch air with Brett on flute and Asher on whistle. My favourite track here is Bonnie Prince Charlie, a great Scottish anthem which I learnt from The Corries and played frequently with Pearl O’Shaughnessy in Dublin: popular on both sides of the North Channel, this haunting melody flies from flute to flute, finally settling on the guitar for a fingerpicked solo.


Two Breton tunes next, the waltz Le Saint-Jean and the rhythmically tortuous Ker Jacob by guitarist Gilles Le Bigot. Breton bombarde is not everyone’s cup of tea, but Brett on bombarde is subtle and sympathetic, enhancing these tunes while adding an element of the raw earth magic of P-Celtic prehistory. The final set of straight Irish reels is no disappointment either, allowing Ms Richter’s delicate tipper to shine through the tight flute duet. The heavyweight Skylark is a timeless favourite, but In the Promised Land is new to me. Esther’s Reel has had a few studio outings recently, notably from The London Lasses, and is a great tune to finish on. Myserk’s mix of Irish tradition and Yankee ingenuity works stunningly well on Fifty/Fifty, and I’m eagerly awaiting more from these guys – either a full-length CD or a European tour.. Keep an eye on, and let me know if you hear any interesting rumours!”