Fiddles & Feet Live from "The Palace"

There’s something about down-home fiddle music that is truly chest swelling. Live is the perfect follow-up release — the difference experience brings is audible as Gordon Tucker and his young band of musicians have grown into their roles, oozing the confidence and definitive chops that come with playing together over time. What began as a Nova Scotian fiddle teacher and his class of protégés, Fiddles & Feet have evolved into a better defined, living, breathing fiddling force as their skill and repertoire have grown. The names are as important as the music, deeply rooted as it is in a strong sense of place and the long lineage of players who carry on the tradition. Tucker, Alycia Putnam, Alisha Hannam and Megan Isenor return to front the formidable fiddle line-up, while Janelle Putnam adds bodhran and mandolin, Rob Putnam adds guitar and Tucker’s son, Liam, handles bass. These 14 tracks follow a less conventional path, blending traditional jigs and reels with influences as far-ranging as Cajun, blues, Western swing, Dixieland and a healthy dollop of local flavouring. The fiddle work on most tracks is played in perfect unison — or tutti — with harmonies working their way into the slower sets. Standout songs include Tucker’s "Goodbye Bonnie Jean,” with its highly emotive Celtic strains, while "MacPherson’s Lament” lends a Scottish air of soulful proportions. From the robust "Pelican & Claybank Reels” to the kitschy fun of "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,” Fiddles & Feet beg to be heard live and are to be applauded for their contribution to something so fresh and historically rewarding.

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