Published May 13, 2014You can tell a lot about a musician by the company she keeps, and Canadian virtuoso fiddle player and singer Miranda Mulholland has played with some of the very best: Jim Cuddy, Steven Page, Alan Doyle, Justin Rutledge, NQ Arbuckle, Dan Mangan and Cowboy Junkies, to name only a few. Currently, she's a member of Great Lake Swimmers, one of Canada's most critically acclaimed bands, and the female fiddle trio Belle Starr. Her solo debut, Whipping Boy, produced by Sean Watkins, multi-instrumentalist for the Grammy winning progressive bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, showcases an über-talented musician at the top of her game.
Mulholland mixes and matches musical genres here, but stitches everything together seamlessly. The title track is twang-y smooth Americana, while "Emmaline," "Remember" and "The Palms and the Pines" are as good as melodic folk gets. "How Many Times" adds some 1920s jazz for good measure, and the two instrumental tracks serve as scene-setting counterpoints: "Bar Rage" is high-energy, angry and beautiful all at the same time, whereas "Shiloh" is gorgeous and serene.
There's subtle power and distinctive personality to Miranda Mulholland. Her songwriting, her voice and of course her fiddle are charming from beginning to end. Released on Mulholland's own new label, Roaring Girl, Whipping Boy confirms that the question will soon be who's playing with Miranda Mulholland, not the other way around. (Roaring Girl)