Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Manus McGuire: Fiddlewings

Manus McGuire

Fiddler Manus McGuire has a lovely sense of melody and a musical imagination which includes the sounds of Clare, Sligo, Donegal,Scotland, and Cape Breton. His work is most often heard in band settings -- Moving Cloud, Buttons & Bows, and the Brock McGuire band for example -- so his rare solo recordings are welcome ways to find added dimension to his work.

This collection opens with Shelly’s Waltz, a title which references McGuire’s home town of Sligo in Ireland's northwest, and readily evokes couples swirling across the dance floor as well, and is a fine conversation between McGuire’s fiddle and the piano of Dennis Morrison. Cape Breton and Scotland and maybe a touch of Donegal come in to play on the set Over the Hills and Among the Heather, which opens with the Scottish air of that name and includes Laddie with the Pladdie, a strathspey McGuire heard from Cape Breton fiddle legend Buddy MacMaster, and Sailor’s Bonnet, a reel he learned as a young man. Spencie's Trip to Edinburgh is a lively high stepping Shetland tune, paired with the well known hornpipe City of Savannah, while Fort Dunree is an air McGuire wrote for his brother Seamus, who joins him on fiddle and viola for the piece. The other tunes and sets are equally fine. This is one of those recordings which only gets better with time.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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