Ashley MacIsaac Ashley MacIsaac

MacIsaac's eponymous Decca release is a misguided attempt to recreate his stellar rock debut, Hi, How Are You Today? In theory this is a smart move, Hi is definitely the 28-year-old's career highlight. But whereas Hi was innovative, unpredictable, volatile and exciting, Ashley MacIssac is a rote trip through every trick in the how-to-create-safe-pop-music manual producer Roger Greenawalt had available to him. By hemming MacIsaac's talent into the confines of made-for-order crossover songs, Greenawalt has lost the vision promised on Hi and still found in the fiddler's live and often vigorous appearances. That being said, MacIsaac's playing is never in question here and his singing (featured on six tracks) makes for a welcome extension to the artist's expression. Mary Jane Lamond makes a return appearance on "To America We Will Go" and even Default's Dallas Smith can't wreck "Mull of Kintyre." (Decca)