Scythian among artists to release new albums at MerleFest 2018

By Lisa Snedeker

If MerleFest has a house band, it’s Scythian.

The band, which blasts folk mixed with Celtic rock and Irish ballads, is composed of a group of siblings with Ukrainian roots — plus friends who create the group’s unique energy.

Scythian is a staple as headliners at Irish/Celtic music festivals across the country, as well festivals on the Americana/bluegrass circuit. Based in the Washington, D.C.-area, the band has performed at MerleFest for more than a decade.

The band kind of entered MerleFest through a side door.

Doc Watson discovered them busking in front of the gates and invited them in — much to the delight of their ever-growing fan base.

Scythian’s music is different, definitely. But what really sets the members of Scythian apart as people and musicians is their love and concern for others, especially the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.

This band of brothers (and sisters) is releasing its second children’s album, “Cake for Dinner 2: Twinkie Twins,” at the 31st annual MerleFest,April 26-29 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, about an hour northwest of Charlotte and west of the Triad.

New to this sophomore kids album are contributions from Catie Parker Fedoryka, wife of Alex Fedoryka, including her song, “Oh the Sun,” which I debuted last year here and on my Huffington Post blog.

“Catie also has another song she wrote for special needs people,” explains Dan Fedoryka, who co-founded Scythian with his brother, Alex. “I co-wrote one with a special-needs person and also co-wrote a tune with my two nieces called ‘Rainy Days Are Never Sad.’  It’s so satisfying for me to write music with family.”

The actual release of the album, which was fan funded, is 10 a.m. Friday, April 27, on the Little Pickers Stage. “Be sure to come early since the tent packs out and know that if you’re under the tent, you qualify as a child and will be expected to make a fool of yourself,” the band Tweeted earlier this week.

Scythian isn’t the only act planning an album release at MerleFest this weekend:

Balsam Range and Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble are scheduled to perform Friday, April 27 — the same day their new ensemble “Mountain Overture” is released — on the Watson Stage. Fans can get a preview of what they will hear on Thursday, April 26, when “Mountain Overture” streams at The Bluegrass Situation. The new album features some of Balsam Range’s most-loved hits transformed.

Sideline‘s latest project, “Front and Center,” includes the single “Thunder Dan” that recently hit No. 1 on Bluegrass Today’s monthly chart. The album is also set for release on April 27 at the festival

Know of another album release at MerleFest that I missed? Please email me at and I will add it!