Ashley MacIsaac Crossover

Ashley MacIsaac Crossover
Let's face it, the expectations for a new MacIsaac album are less than they once were. A self-destructive phase made the East coast star tabloid fodder, but he's attempting to regain lost ground with Crossover. The results are mixed; his continued virtuosity as a fiddler is confirmed, but the scattershot stylistic approach doesn't serve him well. Nor does the decision to sing, as his croaky vocals are mostly unconvincing or, as on aggressive rant "2012 Too Late to Hide," unlistenable. They do work okay on album highlight "She's a Rare One," a pretty, original song in the "Sleepy Maggie" vein that again features the gorgeous voice of Mary Jane Lamond. Also on the plus side are his arrangements of such traditional tunes as "King is Back" and "Poka Rokin," with the latter turned into one of MacIsaac's signature rock/Celtic hybrids. Vivaldi's "Summer" is given a strenuous solo workout, while "Nothin In Between" is a gently haunting song that overcomes the liability of that voice. Such prominent musicians as Daniel Rey (the Ramones) and Martin Deller (FM) are featured, and the co-production work of MacIsaac and bassist John JK Kanakis is also strong. It's not a fully triumphant comeback, but does hint at better things to come. (So Plaid)