John P. Allen

The Canadian Violin

BY Jason SchneiderPublished Aug 1, 2005

As a member of Canadian country institution Prairie Oyster, Allen has earned his great reputation as a musician. But on this solo outing, produced by Pairie Oyster keyboardist Joan Besen and her son Sunny Thrasher, Allen takes every opportunity to stretch out his fiddle skills, as he tackles an eclectic array of standards and contemporary material. The opening pairing of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds and "Makin’ Whoopee” sets the tone nicely, before moving into some original pieces where Allen is joined by a string band for bluegrass romp "The Golden Way.” Other highlights include a run-through of Ian Tyson’s "Summer Wages,” and an appearance by Willie P. Bennett on his own "Lace and Pretty Flowers.” But the star, of course, remains Allen’s fiddle, which gets a real workout on a few jigs and reels, and even one polka. The Canadian Violin is a great display of Allen’s wide-ranging talents and should definitely be sought out by any fan of acoustic music.

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