Sing Out!’s Best of 2015

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April Verch's The Newpart

April Verch – The Newpart

label: SLAB TOWN

Everything from Ottawa Valley Fiddler April Verch is a treat, and this latest release only further proves the point. Initially in her career, Verch stayed closer to the traditions, tunes and styles of the Ottawa Valley, she has increasingly taken a longer view of the world of fiddling, and of making music. The Newpart is a reference to the family room of her parents’ home, on this disc, the world is clearly her oyster, as on tracks like “Polska from Kumla.” Produced by Casey Driessen, the project sparkles with spirit, inventiveness, and fun, despite drawing most of its material from the 1920s and ’30s. A standout is John Hartford’s cheeky “Bring you Clothes Back Home” which becomes a wonderful tribute to his work as a musician, a step dancer, and an entertainer.

Elsewhere the tracks range from a recording of an unaccompanied step dance (Gilchrist) and a wonderful vocal duet on “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing.” The arrangements are clean, and support wonderfully what Verch is up to, which is to have a lot of fun with the music that she loves. In so doing, she shows us why we should love it too. — GH

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