Greg Spatz, |
Gregory Spatz is a writer of literary fiction: two novels, one titled Fiddler's Dream, and a short-story collection. His fiction credits include no less than The New Yorker, to which virtually all serious writers aspire.
And then there is fiddler Greg Spatz, the same absurdly gifted guy, who plays Celtic music, bluegrass, Appalachian folk and swing with aplomb. Fiddler's Dream -- the recording, not the novel -- brings together material from three groups of which he's a member. Though the styles are various, the sound is cohesive and uniformly enjoyable.
Most of the album is devoted to traditional songs and fiddle tunes, with a couple of Spatz originals and a song written and sung in French by his wife Caridwen Spatz, also a fiddler. The smartly chosen material documents Spatz's deep knowledge of folk music. Only the Anglo-Celtic "Lady Franklin's Dream" (a.k.a. "Lord Franklin") and the Appalachian "Little Rabbit" are immediately recognizable, and even they are done in distinctive arrangements that give them a glow of freshness.
Spatz performs variously in a duo with his wife, in a bluegrass band with John Reischman & the Jaybirds, and in the world-folk ensemble Mighty Squirrel. Fiddler's Dream is exactly what a traditional recording ought to be in the early 21st century, a thing both of its time and of the times that created these styles and traditions in the first place. It's all accomplished with skill, taste and heart.
25 October 2008
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