I honestly can't believe that no one has written an opinion on this youngster's absolutely awesome album yet!!! If any of you don't have it, you may consider picking it up, or visiting http://www.napster.com and downloading their little tool. You can download most any song you want from this nifty site!!
Recommend this product?
Now I'm only 22, and I've never been one to like fiddle music, but there is a big twist to Ashley's work and you are guaranteed to tap your foot, even if it's not the best tune you've heard!!
1. Beaton's Delight Strathspey 2:33
This first tune is basically just an introduction. There is some speaking at the beginning of the song and the title of the album is mentioned.
It's jam packed with fiddle wonders which is what Ashley MacIsaac's main instrument is!!! The Strathspey means dance in Creigaelic and the song is rightfully named after it's creator/writer, Donald A. Beaton.
On the fiddle and subliminal suggestions that make up the beginning of the song we have Ashley MacIsaac. On drums we have Graeme Kirkland, Victor Bateman on bass, Chris Brown on clavinet, Ian Blurton on inverted guitar and Michael Phillip Wojewoda on Keyboards/Percussion and Shouts. Michael Phillip is also the Producer and Engineer for this song. All in all, I give it an A+. It's a good start to this album and it definitely leaves you intrigued as to what is to come!!
2. Sleepy Maggie 5:35
This version of Sleepy Maggie is probably unlike any you've ever heard. The Gaelic vocals added to this tune by Mary Jane Lamond are absolutely breaktaking!!! In this song, the fiddle seems to do something. It skips to so many different beautiful notes within seconds. Ashley MacIsaac hails from Cape Breton and his first teacher I believe seemed to inspire him the most. He taught Ashley with compassion, which is something that is a rarity among some teachers. He obviously appreciated it and took it to new levels. This CD is full of excellent beats that keep you moving and humming along!!!
Again, in this one we have Ashley on the fiddle. As I mentioned above, Mary Jane Lamond doing a wonderful job of learning the Gaelic lyrics and bringing them to us, the listeners and fans. We have Alex Greggs, Pete Prilesnik and Matthew DeMatteo on Drum Programming as well as any additional programming. Pete Prilesnik was also on the Dobro/Guitar as well as Producing and Engineering this beauty. Pete is definitely a busy guy!!! A wonderfully funky beat on the bass was given by Chin Injeti. Here is one name that I was totally unaware that he had anything to do with the making of this album. Gordie Johnson on the Funk Guitar. Now, I don't know if any of you are familiar with him, but Gordie is in his own band. They're called Big Sugar and they are another one of my FAV bands. You should see a couple reviews on them popping up within a few days!!!
3. Rusty D-con-STRUCK-tion 3:00
As most of these songs go, there are very little in the way of lyrical content. As much as most of us are used to having words accompanying our music, Ashley does a great job of keeping it all together and keeping his audience captivated minus the lyrical content. Kudos to you Ashley MacIsaac!!!!!
Again in this short three minute magical menage of music, (boy, say that three times fast..LOL) we have Ashley on the fiddle, of course, Gordie Johnson again on the Guitar. Last I knew Gordie's drummer from his band, his name was Al Cross, and in this song, he is playing the drums.
Once again, a great bunch of musicians, making great music!!!
4. The Devil In The Kitchen 2:25
Now, this song is a quick 2 and a half minutes, and sometimes my head is glad that it is. Ashley brings hard rock into this song. You could almost say it's got a thrasher beat to it...believe it or not, a fiddle sounds like it can thrash..LOL It is none stop fiddling and plucking on his part, but it sounds like they probably had a good time recording!!!
Gordie is here again on his guitar, Pete Prilesnik on the bass guitar as well as producing and engineering this bit. Matthew DeMatteo on the drums as well as co-producing and engineering.
This group does a great job of all around just sounding great!!!
5. Mac Dougall's Pride 5:03
If there was one song that I could chose to listen too every night for the rest of my life to lull me to bed, this would be it. It's a sweet, slow song that puts the mind to rest and would allow for restful sleep. 5 minutes of heaven, I tell ya!! The fiddle and acoustic guitar dance a wonderful duo through most of this song. When I listen to this song I picture lovely rolling green hills, and an old man standing at a cliff's edge looking about the land. It seems that in the Cape, their land and their roots..their heritage is their backbone. It's their love and life. So given all that, I would say pride would go nicely in there as well, hence the name of the song. :)
With Ashley on the fiddle, yet again, and Gordie Sampson on the acoustic guitar, who also co-wrote this with Ashley. Scott Long on the bagpipes, Cynthia Steljes on the oboe, Peter De Sotto on the violin, Claudio Vena on the Viola and George Meanwell on the cello. They make a wonderful group and bring this lovely tune to you with grace and style.
6. Spoonboy 5:38
Now, by looking at the title, anyone should have a hint as to what this song contains the most of..LOL
They've included some conversation at the beginning of this song. And it's played to the tune of, as Ashley put it.."A good Dan Hughie tune. Kennedy Street March."
All we have in this song is Ashley on the fiddle and Gerry Deveau on the spoons, and boy do they do a wonderful job!!! I am still amazed at how fast that fiddler fiddles..LOL You can hear it in this song just as you could in a couple of the others.
This is a collection of songs, they've rolled them into one. Like I said it starts out with the Kennedy Street March, then leads into a Traditional Strathspey, which as we learned earlier means dance. From there, they squeeze in Highland's Farewell to Ireland, then a Traditional Reel by Alex Dan MacIsaac. They finish it off with a Castle Hornpipe Reel and Senator's Reel, by John Morris Rankin.
7. What An Idiot He Is 4:29
In this song, MacIsaac stretches his vocal cords with backup from three lovely ladies who also play the guitars and bass in this selection. They are as follows: Jennifer Pierce on Guitar and vocals, Laura Strin plucking the bass and bellowing, and Eve Hartling on Guitar and vocals as well. They even had a female drummer on this one. Allison McLeod sat in on this one.
I think the guy that he's singing about has several personalities. It sounds from some of the lyrics, that he is simple minded. Then it seems that he has an ego. There really is no telling what is wrong with the object of this song. I think, after finally listening to the whole song over again, he seems like he's one of those people who will do what they want, regardless of the outcome. He'll speak his mind with no thoughts of how it will affect others.
8. Sophia's Pipes 3:16
This song is comprised of a mix as well. The fiddle tunes used here are Walkin the Floor and Murdo MacKenzie of Torridon. This is a wonderfully upbeat song that seems to speak of a woman for some reason. One that all the men admired, or at least that's what I think.
She keeps to herself, even though she knows she has several admirers. She would be classified a tease in today's day and age. I suppose there is something that attracts men when an unknown factor is present.
We have Gordie Johnson on the Guitar once again, Pete Prilesnik behind him on the bass. Matthew DeMatteo on the drums and Juri Konje on Percussion. And last but certainly not least Scott Long on the Bagpipes.
9. Sad Wedding Day 3:15
This song is nothing more or less then the title suggests. When I listen to this song, it brings me back to Guns'n'Roses, and their song November Rain. Somehow it reminds me of that. Mary Jane blesses us with her voice again singing Gaelic Vocals in this tune. Scott Long on the Pipes, Gordie Johnson on the Drone Guitar, Juri Konje on the Triangle, Chris Brown on the Piano, Pete Prilesnik on Bass Guitar and Al Cross again on drums.
This song takes you through any and all emotions one could have on their wedding day, a fatal one at that. At first it's calm, serene and peaceful. But once they lose their partner things change. Rage and fear collide. They do a good job or portraying emotion in this song. It's a difficult issue to deal with and understand. I think they have done a great job here!!
10. Wing-Stock 5:01
This song starts, and I can picture walking through a forest, and coming to an edge where there is nothing but field... Running through it, as the tempo picks up somewhat. Finally freedom, and a whole world to explore. Innocence still apparent. Then life takes over. Running in circles. Learning to run, to head towards your dreams. And then, finally making it. Determination kicks in, and everything seems clear. You learn to fly, to take off at will, and reach out to your goals, grasping them and hanging on tight. Oh, this is an inspirational beauty!!! Racing through life, years flying by, and then the end. Rather abrupt, but it seems that this song lives a whole life of it's own. It takes us through childhood and innocence, to youth and adult life. Some may see this song differently then I do. This is just one's opinion on it.
We've got Joel Chiasson on Piano in this selection and Adam Dowling on Percussion. Both Stuart Cameron and Gordie Johnson on Electric Guitar and Ed Woodsworth on Bass Guitar.
I think MacIsaac does a great job of choosing his musicians for his songs. They just seem to go. They work well together. One compliments the other in their style of play.
11. Hills of Glenorchy 4:16
With Joel Chiasson on Piano, Adam Dowling on Drums, Ed Woodsworth on Bass Guitar and Stuart Cameron and Gordie Johnson on Electric Guitar, who could go wrong. MacIsaac sure knows how to pick them!!
If you ever listen to Big Sugar at all, you can really hear Gordie Johnson's style guitar playing in this song. His riffs are apparent right from the start, and I LIKE it!!!! Then Ashley buds in with his fiddle and some yips and screams in the background. It goes together wonderfully.
When I hear this song, in my minds eye I envision children on top of some rolling lush green hills, running and playing. Then in the second half of the song, they nap. The music quiets somewhat. Calms down. But then it picks right back up so it's hard to say. Let's just say the kids are playing again. MacIsaac is all about happy music, with the odd exception of course. :)
12. Brenda Stubbert 2:27
Now, I believe this song was his most popular when this CD was first released. I do remember years ago I was at a New Year's Celebration in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada, and MacIsaac was there. I remember him playing this song, and chills running up and down my arms and legs. I mean it was cold nonetheless, but the chills weren't from my body core temperature being low.LOL I don't know how he did it, but he wore a kilt!!! It was coooold!!
He's got Graeme Kirkland on the Drums and Buckets, Victor Mateman on Bass, Ian Blurton on Guitar, Scott Long on the Pipes, and Michael Phillip Wojewoda mixing in Synth Bass and Percussion.
Last but not least......
13. THE HIDDEN TRACK!!!! Kill Your Foes 6:02
This is actually a slow ballad. It seems to be a love song from 2 points of view. One from the female frame of mind and one from the male. Really, it's a beautiful song.
There are no instruments other then MacIsaac singing and the piano accompanying him. At one point it seems like there is rain in the background. Just to add to the mood no doubt.
All in all, if you think from what I've described here you would like the music, then go out and pick it up for look it up on Napster.
Best of luck to all of you in your search for the meaning behind the music. Kudos to you!!!
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