Dundee-based fiddler and bagpiper Bobby Fitzgerald — with his Austin Texas-based band, Whiskey Shivers — will appear on the NBC drama "Revolution" airing at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15.
"Revolution" is an epic, dystopian drama from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and "Supernatural" creator Eric Kripke. Set in a near future that has seen the collapse of the United States and the world economy, it centers on "the Matheson family's struggle to survive 15 years after a mysterious worldwide blackout. This season, "Revolution" returns to its powerless roots and settles into Willoughby, a small town in the now independent nation of Texas.
According to Fitzgerald, in the Jan. 15 episode — recorded in October — the members of Whiskey Shivers portray a traveling acoustic band of artists who play their own interpretations of music hits from the past in the non-electrified future. On set outside Austin, Whiskey Shivers were filmed playing three cover songs: "Black Betty" by Ram Jam circa 1977, "Living After Midnight" by Judas Priest circa 1980, and "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf circa 1967, but this time in Spanish.
Fitzgerald is not sure which will be used in the episode, and was careful not to reveal any plot points, but was enthusiastic about being on the set and filming the show.
"It was a fantastic experience," he said. "We filmed it at a beautiful ranch, and everybody was great to work with. They asked me to play fiddle for them before with Bob Schneider. I was only on screen for a few seconds and reflected in a mirror, but that's how the producers heard of Whiskey Shivers and asked us to be in the show."
Production of "Revolution" has moved from California to Texas, and the show's writers and directors have begun to feature local musicians from nearby Austin, among the most vibrant cities in the country for new musicians. Whiskey Shivers has played numerous venues there and nationwide, and producing videos such as "Gimme All Your Lovin" and "Jealous Heart," their 2013 debut on CMT Edge (www.cmtedge.com). The Austin Chronicle says, "It doesn't matter if you've seen them once or 100 times. ... (This) bluegrass-loving, barefoot hillbilly troupe never delivers anything short of exhilarating."
Whiskey Shivers are Fitzgerald on fiddle, Evan Heidtmann on banjo, Andrew VanVoorhees on standup bass, Joe Deuce on washboard and Horti Hortillosa on guitar. All five contribute vocally. They count among their musical influences Old Crow Medicine Show, John Prine, Hank Williams, Jolie Holland, Johnny Cash, Avett Brothers and many more.
With three full-length albums under their belts, "Monster Hawg," "Batholith" and "Rampa Head," the band has just wrapped up recording for its fourth album. Funded by a 12-day Kickstarter campaign that raised approximately $15,000, this new album heralds a new level in their career. Fitzgerald said this time, Whiskey Shivers recorded with famed producer Robert Ellis at SugarHill Studios in Houston, called the “Abbey Road of the South” and home to legendary producers, record labels, and artists such as Willie Nelson, George Jones, The Big Bopper, Freddy Fender and more recently, Michelle Williams and Beyoncé.
"This album is a good representation of what our sound really can be," Fitzgerald said. The band is still deciding on a title, but expects it to be released in the beginning of April.