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Blueprint
     

Blueprint

4.3 3
by Natalie MacMaster
 
In this inspired meeting of bluegrass and Celtic music, Natalie McMaster steps into the front rank of young fiddlers building new sounds on the foundation of tradition. A native of Canada's Cape Breton Island and the niece of the venerable Cape Breton fiddle master Buddy McMaster, 30-year-old Natalie shows she's adept at breakneck jigs and reels, from the furious "A

Overview

In this inspired meeting of bluegrass and Celtic music, Natalie McMaster steps into the front rank of young fiddlers building new sounds on the foundation of tradition. A native of Canada's Cape Breton Island and the niece of the venerable Cape Breton fiddle master Buddy McMaster, 30-year-old Natalie shows she's adept at breakneck jigs and reels, from the furious "A Blast" -- a melding of five rousing fiddle tunes, three of them McMaster originals -- to the sprightly evocation of Irish gaiety in the traditional "Jig Party" to the lively interplay between her dancing lines and the solid thumping of Victor Wooten's bass on "Minnie & Alex's Reel," another original. Throughout, she's accompanied by some of acoustic music's finest players, including Sam Bush on mandolin, Bryan Sutton on guitar, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Béla Fleck on banjo, and bassists Wooten, Edgar Meyer, Viktor Krauss, and Byron House. Strictly an instrumentalist, McMaster nonetheless knows good singing when she hears it; hence the compelling presence of John Cowan on the bristling "Touch of the Master's Hand," which also happens to be a partial reunion of the revered and innovative New Grass Revival, as Cowan rejoins his former compadres Bush and Fleck. But the high point on the album -- and in McMaster's recording career thus far -- is "My Love, Cape Breton and Me," sung in delicate, whispered tones by Kate Quinn. McMaster adds aching, keening fiddle lines to this gentle prayer addressed both to her homeland and to a lover sorely missed. It's a stunning achievement, one that marks Natalie McMaster as a true rising star in acoustic music.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
While Natalie MacMaster has carved out her reputation mining Cape Breton fiddle traditions, Blueprint finds her combining her forceful style with contemporary acoustic music. This merging of genres takes place on a couple of levels. "A Blast," "Appropriate Dipstick," and "Jig Party" stick close to traditional themes, even though the presence of a full band drives these pieces forward at a propulsive rate. "Eternal Friendship" is quieter, augmenting MacMaster's melodic fiddle with piano and dobro. Tradition, however, gets pretty much tossed out the window on "A Touch of the Master's Hand," with John Cowan wailing over a full drum kit, thumping bass, and fiery fiddle. While no other cut pushes the sonic boundaries this far, MacMaster and her bandmates do delve into new acoustic music on "Gravel Shore," classical on "Devil and the Dirk," and progressive Celtic on "Minnie & Alex's Reel." It's easy to credit the high-profile guest list -- Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Victor Wooten -- for the project's success, but that's only partly true. Too many instrumental albums begin sounding the same by the third cut, and quickly fade into the background. MacMaster finds her way around this conundrum by mixing eclectic material, inspired musicianship, and her commanding style to make Blueprint an exciting and fun album.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2003
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661705623
catalogNumber:
617056
Rank:
107916

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Natalie MacMaster   Primary Artist,Fiddle,Background Vocals,Narrator,Tenor Banjo
Alison Brown   Banjo
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Darol Anger   Octave Violin
Edgar Meyer   Bass
Todd Phillips   Bass
Philip Aaberg   Piano
Larry Atamanuik   Drums
Sam Bacco   Percussion
John Burr   Synthesizer
John Cowan   Vocals
Béla Fleck   Banjo
Georges Hebert   Guitar
Byron House   Bass
Viktor Krauss   Bass
Mike Marshall   Guitar,Mandolin
Victor Wooten   Bass
Tracey Dares   Piano
Matt Flinner   Mandolin
Bob Quinn   Piano
Gordie Sampson   Guitar
Bryan Sutton   Guitar
John Chiasson   Bass
Katherine Quinn   Vocals

Technical Credits

Darol Anger   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Edgar Meyer   Arranger
Jean Carignan   Composer
Alasdair Fraser   Arranger
Jerry Holland   Composer
Ed Reavy   Composer
Béla Fleck   Arranger,Composer
Iain MacDonald   Composer
Dave Sinko   Engineer
Tracey Dares   Arranger
Natalie MacMaster   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Roger Tallroth   Composer
Phil Cunningham   Composer
Bob Quinn   Composer
Gordie Sampson   Arranger
Donnell Leahy   Producer
Traditional   Composer
Brad Davidge   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Blueprint 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To my ears Natalie is at home with the material, but the host of EXCELLENT musicians she has chosen don't quite fit in the celtic realm. These are all great players but the bluegrass soul and the celtic soul are two different worlds. It's obvious to me that the musicians on these tracks don't spend alot of time with jigs and reels. Bluegrass and celtic musics may be related and have similarities but they are two different genres. 99% of bluegrass music comes out of the 1940's and 50's... Scottish and Irish music can date back centuries... maybe that's why Natalie chose to do more modern material here. Definitely buy it, but its a combo that doesn't jive for this Natalie fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Forgive the high price, and notice the diversity of leading professional musicians, who must be borrowed from their owners on contract. Here, you're paying royalties over and again, but you're getting a combination of the best artists in North America doing original music. It's actually worth so much more. Please don't copy it, tape it, or pass it around too liberally. Let your friends listen on your own equipment; then persuade them to buy it when ever they can. Plus, Natalie signed the disc itself, and the liner is also simply beautiful. (Not like one of those "Pop Classical" CD's where you get a 39 page dissertation in 5 languages.) I am a minimalist. I keep only two or three albums with me, and this is one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Natalie is no doubt about it, the best human musician alive! This album proves it - It seems to be impossible, but for God's help, it would be.