Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
Special guests Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and Edgar Meyer join virtuoso Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMasters on her first studio recording since 1999's In My Hands. — Genre: Folk Music — Media Format: Compact Disk — Ra... more »
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Special guests Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and Edgar Meyer join virtuoso Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMasters on her first studio recording since 1999's In My Hands.
Genre: Folk Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 9-SEP-2003
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Once more, a recording of pure genius...
goodoldmac | Charlotte, North Carolina United States | 12/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It must be tough being Natalie MacMaster. Imagine trying to continually come up with a new recording that will wow the critics, combining Cape Breton fidding with other, often opposing, genres. And it is even tougher for those of us who review her work, for we have to come up with superlatives to fit these recordings of pure genius. Well, she has done it again, so once more I have to adquately describe what is indescrible. "Blueprint" is an excellent work of music. It combines Cape Breton fiddle-work with...well...other music and scores big-time on every cut. Perhaps we should stop refering to MacMaster's music as "Cape Breton style" and simply call it "MacMaster style" music, since she has no hestiation in combining "traditional" fiddle music with other styles of music, and what emerges is something very unique, and very much "listenable."A couple of quibbles with another reviewer here...a top 500 reviewer at that...First of all, there is no doubt among her fans that MacMaster is a young woman, (31 last June,) and not a girl, nor has there been for quite some time. Attend one of her concerts or simply buy her recording "My Roots Are Showing" and look at the cover photo, and you too will lose any doubts. And secondly, I happen to think that "Touch Of The Master's Hand" on this recording is a pretty good song, and one I have already listen too several times. A bit bluegrass, yes, and I found it strange that following the line "You could hear the angels sing," when you would expect soft, sweet music, MacMaster comes in with a rocking fiddle. Not bad, not by any means, it just didn't seem to fit as well as I thought. The whole song actually reminds of the Charlie Daniels Band's song,"The Devil Went Down To Georgia" but I am not claiming there is any connection, just that something triggers the memory. All the songs are worthy, but one that can truly put a lump in your throat is the very last one on the album, "My Love, Cape Breton And Me." This is a beautiful song sung by MacMaster's cousin, (written by her uncle) and actually doesn't even need MacMaster to be beautiful. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we hear much more from Kate Quinn in the future. She has a truly beautiful voice.One minor departure from the "normal" MacMaster recording, is that many of tunes used were actually written by MacMaster herself. Not a problem, since her experience with the genre has left her with a pretty good ear (to say the least) and she mixes her stuff with older music (or at least other music) splendidly. And that sums up "Blueprint" very well...Everything works perfectly. Natalie MacMaster has further cemented her claim to the be the "Queen of Fiddlers" very well with this album. And that is a good enough reason to listen to it..."
From a Blueprint to a Masterpiece
JON STRICKLAND | Smithfield, NC United States | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Natalie MacMaster is a true musical treasure whose talent is extremely underexposed to our American culture, for her Celtic fiddle playing is extraordinary. I know, for I have witnessed it with both my ears and my eyes.Featuring this outstanding fiddle playing is Natalie's latest studio release,Blueprint. It is on the Rounder Records label, a name that might draw a response in the nature of "Where have I seen that name before?" For those of you who might be wondering, Rounder also features Joan Osborne since her departure from Mercury/Polygram, as well as the latest recordings of the lovely Alison Krauss, whom I often compare with Ms. MacMaster. In fact, many might regard Natalie MacMaster as being, in many ways, Canada's counterpart to Alison Krauss, or, in turn, Alison Krauss as being the American counterpart to Natalie MacMaster.
Enough, already!! They're both fabulous!!As for the Blueprint CD, featured are the great musicians who have been tightly associated with Ms. Krauss and other leading names in traditional and contemporary bluegrass. Among them are Bela Fleck of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Jerry Douglas, who is widely known as "the world's greatest dobro player". In this package is versatility, a little something for people of all age groups to enjoy. The tunes range from the ancient Scottish tradition rhythms appreciated in Natalie's beloved Cape Breton to more contemporary tunes that are essentially categorized as Neobluegrass fused in with the lightning-fast Celtic fiddle playing that only Ms. MacMaster can patent.As a whole, Blueprint is an excellent CD that will help many an avid listener from America or from another similar culture to acquire a new musical appreciation for, if not a whole new musical taste in, Bluegrass and/or Celtic music.If the CD does not quite do it for you, then go see Natalie MacMaster live. I recently attended fer performance in Smithfield, NC. Her arrangements were some of the best I have ever seen in a live show. At the very least, she is truly amazing with her athleticism on stage and her ability to create energy in concert without missing a note.Natalie MacMaster is a true all-around entertainer, and if you don't believe me, then I say, again,"Go see her perform!!!" You will be amazed. I promise."
John M. Morris | Jefferson City, MO USA | 09/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The cover photo of Natalie MacMaster on "Blueprint" declares what her previous studio CD, "In My Hands," suggested: she's a woman now, not a girl, and is able to audaciously apply her mastery of Cape Breton fiddling to other musical styles. To listen to her trading licks with bluegrass/Americana legends like Jerry Douglas and Bela Fleck (listen to "Gravel Shore") is, for a fan of both bluegrass and Cape Breton music, something close to heaven. There's no question that Natalie is a worthy member of this group--her fiddling is masterful, self-confident and never puts a foot wrong.
This is a classic crossover album, and strict Cape Breton fiddling traditionalists who liked Natalie's "My Roots are Showing" and the second disk of her Live album may not be pleased (though a couple of numbers, like "Jig Party" are close to traditional). But if it isn't too presumptuous for a non-Cape Bretoner to say so, I think this CD captures the spirit of the genre (listen to the jet-propelled strathspeys, for example, in "A Blast"). Even though she has the assistance of bluegrass artists, Natalie imports her traditional fiddling style into a different setting: there's no way you could mistake her for a traditional or bluegrass fiddler--Aubrey Haynie, for example.
If you love Cape Breton traditional music, buy this CD because you'll be blown away by where a Cape Breton master has taken this music. If you love modern bluegrass, buy this CD because you'll hear your favorite artists play bluegrass and some other truly awesome music that you may never have heard before. Either way, you're going to love this album!"