Some people may consider April a revivalist, but more aptly she acts as a conductive force bridging early twentieth century roots music into the new millennium. This new record sees April lean heavily on breathing contemporary life into a mixture of old songs and tunes, many dating back to the twenties and thirties. Within the context of her illimitable appeal, April and her tightknit team of co-players Hayes Griffin (guitar, mandolin) and Cody Walters (bass, banjo) alongside producer Casey Driessen, rattle through 14 tracks wrapped in stripped back packaging and charged to the hilt with acoustic fire. As witnessed live, the chemistry between the trio is intensely evident and all instrumentation utilised rallies around April’s lauded fiddle playing and legendary step dancing.
April has long extended the radar of influence far from her
Ottawa home and this album was recorded in the red hot roots territory of
Asheville North Carolina. Nearby Virginia is the source for the opening tune as
April flexes her fiddle on the traditional ‘Belle
Election’. In an attempt to fuse the roots music of both Canada and the US,
she later merges two tunes from either side of the border into the uplifting
number ‘Midnight Wheeler’. As well as
exploring the sounds from her own continent, April is also keen to interpret
the European style and has found a Swedish tune full of imperial grandeur to
record in the name of ‘Polska from Kumla’.
|Photo by Parker J. Pfister|
It only takes a short delve into April’s career to discover her passion for Ottawa step dancing and in the most innovative piece on the album she uses the sound to curate a tune. ‘Gilchrist’ is named after the grandfather of her home province’s step dancing tradition and its inclusion on the record certainly adds an element of fascination to its content. Full details of the background and inspiration behind all the songs and tunes included on the album are available within the album package. This reveals the album’s title track being named as little more than the ‘new part’ of her family home, although it has long since been the location where considerable talent was heavily practised and finely tuned.
Alongside the tunes and step dancing, songs play an important part in the music of April Verch. With her soft spot for a sad country song, ‘It Makes No Difference to Me’ is an evolved co-write between April and Cody and splendidly houses her sweet vocals. Later on the album, April and Cody team up for a duet on the achingly beautiful real deal country song ‘I Heard the Bluebirds Sing’. This song was unearthed as a composition by Canadian Hod Pharis, but April chooses to end the album with one of her own original tracks and symbolises ‘This Melody’ as a tribute to her belief of communicating via fiddle and song.
|Photo by Parker J. Pfister|