Guitar Summit
at the Judique Community Centre, Judique, Cape Breton
(11 October 2007)

The Judique Community Centre is home base for the Highland Guitar Society, which meets regularly and has a large membership and following, so the sounds of strumming and picking are familiar in this large building with wood-beam interior and colourful tartans. This concert has continued to be a popular one that sells out regularly. This year the musician who initiated the first Guitar Summit in Cape Breton returned to amaze us with his adept and scintillating picking, none other than J.P. Cormier.

Ian MacNeil, who has emceed many a Celtic Colours event, introduced the players and likely J.P., Dave MacIsaac and Patrick Gillis needed no introduction to many of the guitar fans watching that night. Eddie Poirier, a newcomer to Celtic Colours, hails from New Brunswick, and he and Terry Poirier, on stand-up bass, proved to be a great addition.

After being seated -- J.P. always seems to sit on the far left and Dave on the far right -- Dave said "We're in Judique. Let's play the 'Judique Jig.'" This opened it up for a great first set.

One of the nice things about the Guitar Summit is the freedom it gives the players. They can choose to be inventive and inspired, or to let the audience relish the talents they're already best known for. The lineup has never been less than superb.

Dave joked around and said he only knows seven more tunes, then said to Paddy that they'll start with "Nancy's March," go into a few strathspeys and end it with "General Stewart." Dave gently led for a while and then picked it up. Later, Paddy whipped into the march "Leaving Lochalsh."

All evening the tunes come from everywhere. The Poiriers played some from Bridgewater, Dave played some of Dan R.'s, there were even a few bluegrass tunes on the loose.

Eddie is smooth and sharp at the same time and with an underlay that lifts his music. It was easy to enjoy the music and appreciate his professional but down-home style on stage. He and Terry were a perfect fit for Celtic Colours and I'd like to see them return.

The varied exchanges were relaxed and interesting, shifting from player to player. It's nice to see how the players put as much into accompaniment as they did when it was their turn to be featured.

Once again, the Guitar Summit offered a fine Celtic mix of hearty regular fare with a few nice surprises on the side. And it's Thursday night, so the next step is on to Glencoe Mills for the square dance.

review by
Virginia MacIsaac

2 February 2008

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