A trio of musicians active in the traditional American folk dance scene, the members of Gypsy Meltdown say their music has two moods. One springs from what they call the "entrancing, seductive feel of the gypsy meltdown in contra dancing," and the other comes from the "exuberant, high-energy romping and leaping of Gypsy," flute, saxophone and percussion-player Colleen Reed's German Shepherd. With songs from New England, Appalachia and the British Isles, as well as some original tunes, the artists say they weave together new and old melodies with "rhythm, groove and attitude."
The members of Gypsy Meltdown live in Washington, D.C., and have been playing together since 2003. Reed started playing flute at age 10, and became hooked on contra dance in 1995. Since 2003, she has been teaching and making music fulltime. Fiddle player and mandolinist Kathy Kerr started violin in fifth grade in Ann Arbor, Mich. After playing with The Pretty Shaky Stringband in Michigan, she got into contra dancing. Reed saw Kerr playing and dancing in Washington, D.C., and convinced her to join Gypsy Meltdown. Keith Gillis, the guitarist for the band, grew up in Ohio with a musical family. He discovered the acoustic guitar at 13, and, like Reed, started contra dancing in 1995. Reed and Gillis met in 1996 and started playing in local jam sessions and music workshops.
The band released their debut album, Unleashed, in June 2006. The featured song, "Tom Busby's - Prius Envy - Pull the Knife and Stick It Again" is the first track from Unleashed.