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Linus Entertainment LINUS270208

There are certain things that jump out at you when you’re looking at background notes for reviews that make you wonder where the years have gone, and the comment that Natalie has been recording for 25 years now was one of them for me. In my defence, she started when she was quite young! If anyone needs told who Natalie is, let’s just say that if Cape Breton ever declares itself a fiddle republic, she’ll be the first president. She’s been married to fellow-fiddler Donnell for a number of years, yet, surprisingly, this is their first recording together.

Backed by a dozen top-rate musicians, the pair takes us through a full range of music, both traditional and modern composition, including a couple of Natalie’s own works, The Chase and Wedding Day Jig. It’s the Clog Medley however which for me really gets the ultimate Cape Breton effect – a large number of tunes tumbling after one another as the dancing rhythm pounds along, till you get totally carried away in the excitement of it all.

Apart from one vocal track, Cagaran Gaolach, sung by Natalie, this is an all-instrumental CD and the various guest musicians appear in different combinations to add even greater depth to the overall sound. Not only should credit go to all of them for their energy, flair and originality, but hats off also to producer Bob Ezrin, a name more associated with the likes of Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper(!). I don’t know if it was his idea to make a drum kit out of paint cans and a cardboard box for the appropriately-titled Joyous Waltz, but it certainly worked.

I know it’s still early, but this must be a contender for “album of the year”.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 108 of The Living Tradition magazine.