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Natalie MacMaster - Blueprint


Natalie MacMaster

Rounder 11661-7056-2

Rounder Records Corp.
One Camp St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied

MacMaster is an appropriate name for someone who is a master of the fiddle. If you like traditional Celtic fiddle music from the Cape Breton area, then you would do well to pick up Blueprint. This CD album is mainly a collection of tunes grouped as medleys, which range from traditional to contemporary. In addition, there are a couple of nice waltzes and a couple of vocals to add interest.

Blueprint was recorded in Nashville and there are a whole lot of Nashville superstars as backup musicians on this album. To name a few: Brian Sutton on guitar, Bela Fleck and Alison Brown on banjo, Sam Bush and Matt Flinner on mandolin, Todd Phillips and Victor Wooten on bass, and Jerry Douglas on dobro. She even has world class Edger Meyer on bass for the contemporary sound of Appropriate Dipstick. There are several other players on an assortment of instruments such as piano, bagpipes, drums and whistles. Altogether a great group of musicians playing lively music with Natalie at the helm with her marvelous bow and timing.

The tune list contains 13 entries, however, there are really a lot more tunes because six of the titles are actually medleys of up to 5 tunes each. It is hard to choose favorites since they are all great. I liked the medley of strathspeys and reels called A Blast. Natalie's bow cuts the air on these lively dance tunes and will make your feet want to move around. Eternal Friendship and Johsefin's Waltz slow the pace down and are very soothing. Contrast with Appropriate Dipstick with its blend of modern sound from the electric pipes and the traditional sound of Cape Breton fiddle. Also, with the complex interplay of fiddle and bowed bass ala Edger Meyer. It's hard to beat this for listening pleasure. Another tune that stands out is Bela's Tune (written by guess who?) - very nice with a Celtic aire from Mr. Fleck's banjo and Natalie's fiddle.

As a bonus, My Love, Cape Breton and Me is included. A vocal featuring the lovely voice of Kate Quinn. According to the liner notes this song was performed at Ms. MacMaster's wedding. It's a nice, close to a wonderful, album.

Play List:

  • A Blast (5 tunes)
  • Appropriate Dipstick
  • Jig Party (3 traditional jigs)
  • Touch of the Master's Hand (with vocal by John Cowan and Natalie MacMaster)
  • Eternal Friendship
  • Gravel Shore (3 tunes)
  • Devil and the Dirk (4 tunes)
  • The Ewe with the Crooked Horn (2 tunes)
  • Johsefin's Waltz
  • Bela's Tune
  • The Silver Spear (3 tunes)
  • Minnie and Alex's Reel
  • My Love, Cape Breton and Me

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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