Monday, November 24, 2014

CD: MATHEW JOHNSON - Carving Out A Tune

MATHEW JOHNSON
Carving Out A Tune
Down Yonder - Donegal Clog - Billy The Barber Shaved His Father - Reel de L'Aveugle - Concert Reel - Blindman's Reel - Jolly Fiddler's 2-Step - Olympic 2-Step - Walking up Town - Contessa Waltz - Frank Ryan's Hornpipe - Carelton County Hornpipe - Lightning Hornpipe - Listen To The Mockingbird - Screwdriver Rag - Mary Get Your Shoes - Frenchie's Reel - Golden Eagle Hornpipe - Dill Pickle Rag - Festival Waltz - Shingle The Roof - Back Up & Push - Rochester Schottische - Go To The Devil & Shake Yourself - East Tennessee Blues - Reel du Fogeron - Salute To Columbia - Yellow Rose Waltz - Allen's Reel - Don Messer's Breakdown - Ida Red - Robbie Dagenais Reel - Jim's Heartwarming Waltz - Four String Polka - Fiddle Strings - Four Mile Run - Spanish Two-Step - Territorial Days Reel - Gfatineau Reel - Lou Sullivan - Mansion Over The Hilltop
 
Wow, with the number of tunes on this album, you have to realize it took awhile to listen to it.  I'm not exactly sure how I came to receive this incredibly well recorded fiddler, but I'm glad I have the privilege of listening to this young man play his instrument so well.  He reminds me so very much of a young Mark O'Connor when Mark came to Omaha to participate in a fiddle contest with a $10,000 first prize paid for by the Brandeis Store when Laurier Birginal was still around and still promoting old-time fiddle.  What an amazing situation that was, and I have to say what an amazing gathering of incredibly good old-time fiddle tunes on this one album by Mathew Johnson.  I like Mathew's own composition "Screwdriver Rag" but I'm also a Kenny Baker fan, and Kenny's "Festival Waltz" is well represented on this gathering.  Some of the best backing musicians I have ever heard behind a good fiddler is on this project, and Mathew has 'combined' some of his songs into one compilation, meaning he modulates up and down the scale, seemingly effortlessly and without warning.  So, these musicians have to be really good, have as good an ear as Mathew has, and pay very close attention to what he is doing on the fiddle.  This particular CD is already pretty old, so I'm not sure what the status is with Mathew Johnson, but I do know there will be a nomination for induction of him into America's Old Time Fiddler's Hall of Fame.  I will send this particular CD along to the Rural Roots Music Commission to see their reaction to this piece of work.  I believe Mathew has a great love for hornpipes, these sound exceptionally well as he delves into the inner make-up of these kind of tunes.  There's a kind of gourd-tapper horse-clop sounding instrument that joins well  into some rags like "Dill Pickle," and enhances the old-time flavor of the songs, making them sound even vaudevillian.  With the fiddle forsaken in today's country music scene, it's such a pity they have sacrificed this most magnificent instrument that made country music such a very likable musical genre, its absence making it such an unlikable one today.  If you like fiddle music, played well, as much as I do, you need to find this CD.  It's out there somewhere, I have it, so it has to be.  "Back Up And Push" really has that Mark O'Connor touch and brings a million fond memories back to me of how tremendously great this kind of music is.  Five stars for this one.
 
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine
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