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GABE McVARISH - Eclection

GABE McVARISH - Eclection
Greentrax CDTRAX348

The traditional exhortation to American youth in the late eighteenth century was “go west, young man”. Gabe McVarish decided to reverse direction and head eastwards from his native California, after twice winning the US Junior National Scottish Fiddle Championship.  Following his various meanderings, he has now settled in Highland Scotland, and has established himself as a major force in the Celtic music world, not least with the band Daimh, of which he is a founder-member.

This release allows Gabe to demonstrate his mastery of the fiddle styles of all points between his original and adopted homes, with trips to Cape Breton, Donegal, Kerry and other centres of distinction.  There are sets of tunes by Tommy Peoples and Gordon Duncan as well as examples of Gabe’s own material, all played with a lightness of touch and dexterity of execution which is, as I believe Californians would say, awesome.

There is a prodigious line-up of guest musicians too, with support from Ross Martin, guitar; Martin O’Neill, bodhran; Iain MacDonald, flute; Mac Morin, piano; Eamonn Doorley, bouzouki; Jarlath Henderson, uillean pipes; Luke Daniels, button accordion; Ewan MacPherson, guitars and jaws harp; John Sommerville, piano accordion; Duncan Lyall, bass; and Angus MacKenzie, whistle and Borders pipes.  From this mixture are drawn truly outstanding arrangements, all excellently produced, with each instrument allowed to make a full contribution to the overall texture of the pieces.

This should be compulsory listening, both as an example of individual expertise and of collective understanding of the essence of great music.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.