Cagley, Black, Schaefer & Njoes,
Friends in Music
(Copper Creek, 2001)

Clear the floor of any large objects, put this CD in the machine, grab you partner and have a fantastic night.

This is the ultimate in music -- the tunes played for love of the sound. From "The Temperance Reel" to "Rose of Ava Moore" this CD will have anyone who is not tone deaf tapping their feet and wishing that they had learned to play that guitar, fiddle or bass.

The sound is so sweet and deceptively simple that you know you are listening to musical maestros. It is hard to believe that such basic instruments produce this richness.

A surprising thing about the CD is that even many tunes that sound so familiar are in fact new compositions. This is true particularly of "Chickadee Waltz," which was written by Bob Black. "Cherokee Shuffle" brings us to square dance land and gets the blood racing with that fabulous guitar playing. "Fiddler's Dream" starts as if it were a banjo tune, but when the fiddle enters you will be transported into that dream. Even a 1920s tune, "Pig Ankle Rag," has a timeless quality.

The Irish heritage of so much bluegrass and American music is remembered in the jigs "Road to Lisdoonvarna/Morrisons." Scotland is not forgotten either, and the spirited tune "New Rigged Ship" brings banjo and fiddle to the fore on an old traditional piece. The album closes its 14 tracks with a soulful rendition of "Rose of Ava More." Some will recall it as the waltz tune "Rose of Sharon."

Like so many performers who play for the love of the tradition and the sound, these artists bring that special bit of soul into their work that will be an inspiration to any who listen. Given an fair piece of airplay this CD could do great things as it offers such a variety of music all with the common ingredient -- class.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 29 June 2002

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