Pass It On
(independent, 2007)

It's natural for anyone involved in a tradition to worry the tradition might someday fade from memory. After all, traditions that were once passed down by necessity often become hobbies and casual pastimes that depend on each new generation to sustain them.

I have little concern for the rich fiddle tradition of Cape Breton, in part because of people like Nova Scotia fiddle instructor Christy Hodder and this album, Pass It On.

Pass It On is by the Fiddlestickers, a dozen or so of Hodder's young students from the island province's Annapolis Valley who perform delightful sets here along with a few of their musical inspirations: Troy MacGillivray, Stan Chapman, Glenn Graham, Jennifer Roland, Gordon Stobbe and, of course, Hodder herself. The sets are mostly performed in unison and, while the music is not so polished as you might expect from more seasoned performers, the sound is strong, solid and true.

The liner notes are a little sparse, focusing more on the guest musicians than the 12 young performers in the spotlight and overlooking details such as which student sang on this track and who danced on that one, but otherwise, this is a great package. It gives me hope, and maybe it could inspire a few young fiddlers here and there who might be reassured to know the tradition remains alive.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Tom Knapp

9 February 2008

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