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Mariel Vandersteel

Hickory

(Self-released; US: 3 Apr 2012; UK: Import)

Fiddle maestro offers a varied set.

Fiddle whiz Mariel Vandersteel offers up a diverse array of instrumental tunes on Hickory, her self-produced debut CD. Ranging from the bluegrass stomp of opening track “Hog and Sheep Going to the Pasture” to the Nordic “Norafjolls” and “Huldreslat”, Vandersteel’s playing is smooth and assured, her violin possessing a rich expressiveness and her dexterity more than a match for the high-energy tunes on display. “The Schoolhouse” and “On the Danforth” are both pretty, downtempo airs, but it’s the faster numbers that make the most impression. The decidedly bluegrassy “Three Forks of the Cumberland” and the Celto-Nordic stylings of “Flannery’s Dream” offer plenty of opportunities for Vandersteel to show off her impressive chops. With occasional backing musicians on guitar, bass, mandolin and other fiddles, the album’s sound is rich and full, making this a satisfying, if not incendiary, album.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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Mariel Vandersteel & Friends - The Desolate Afternoon of the Curtain Tie/Telespringar
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