Prodigious. The change into A J Campbell's Jig, the full throttle launch into Maggie Brown's Favourite, the attack on the Howie MacDonald reel Sister Dolena Beaton's, the sheer majestic splendour of Aberdeen (honest!): I can imagine horses docking their tails, and cats disembowelling themselves, just to hear Kimberley Fraser's music. Well, almost.
Playing fiddle and piano, as is traditional for Cape Breton's most gifted, Kimberley is backed by some fine names here: Tracey Dares and Troy MacGillivray on piano, Gordie Sampson and Dave MacIsaac on guitar. Falling On New Ground has also dragged a few atypical instruments into the Nova Scotian brew. Nuala Kennedy's flute graces a set of Irish jigs and reels, as does Damian Helliwell's banjo, making this the first time that the words "banjo" and "graces" have appeared in the same sentence. Nuala pops up again for the final set of reels: Lord MacDonald's, The Sound of Mull, and The Copper Fields of Beara by harpist Máire Ní Chathasaigh.
About half the drummer's dozen tracks here are under six minutes. The others range up to nine minutes long, true Cape Breton sets. The shorter ones include a trio with Haugaard & Hoirup, a brilliant Danish duo, playing some Scots and Irish standards: a wild crack at Calliope House, the right way up for a change, then a reel version of Fishers Hornpipe, and finally some new variations on The Mason's Apron. In total contrast to this fiddle frenzy is the solo piano pastoral Braes o' Auchtertyre, played and arranged by Kimberley: relaxed, gentle, carefully constructed, with some unorthodox chord sequences, ending on an unresolved cadence which, like the rest of this wonderful album, leaves the listener yearning for more. Every fan of fiddle music should hear Falling on New Ground: google it, or try Kimberley's nascent website www.kimberleyfraser.com