My brother builds violins and is quite good at it. One year, he made me one, a triangular affair, a copy of a design by one of Stradivarius' students, a beautiful instrument, but the violin is hellishly difficult to play, so it sits on my bookcase as an artpiece! I tried it, I'll stick with guitar. The violin and the oboe are, I am reliably informed by classical musicians, the hardest instruments to master; thus, it's noteworthy when anyone excels at either. April Verch sings in a high, sweet, babydoll voice like a young Dolly Parton, but it's probably her fiddle playing that will secure her niche, even though the emphasis is on vocals here.
Her singing is attractive, though: tuneful, Appalachian, and country, especially in I Might Have One Too, a very clever but sensible twist on the tilting of the elbow and the reasons why, not to mention secondarily a wry convolution on the song title itself. I love unusual vocalists, and Verch squarely falls in that category though her twang and refrains are familiar. It's hard to pass by a soprano that searingly insistent and honeymelon sweet. Fork Creek River and a few other cuts, however, are instrumentals and showcase her supple way with the fiddle, a talent even Sam Bush felt compelled to comment upon, on the reverse liner. Her tone is pure and she can switch up between the lyrical and the lightning swift in a heart beat.
Hm, on second thought, I may have to re-calibrate my first hunch: the more I listen to her sing, the more I'm entranced, but phew!, catch the intro to My Friend Craig and see if her string rasping isn't as mesmerizing as that bird-on-the-wire singing. Then let the same quicksilver flow carry you along to the end of the cut. Sam Bush and Travis Book make cameos amid a team of session players often forming an almost chambery aspect, especially on tracks like Long Way Home, though none of Steal the Blue ever loses sight of the salt of the earth fundament so clear throughout the entire release.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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