Mac Morin,
Mac Morin
(Muileann Dubh, 2003)

Once the piano starts playing, we all know what's coming next. But, where the Cape Breton fan might expect the fiddle to come in, the piano just keeps on going. Mac Morin, one of the Maritimes' best young pianists, very deftly handles melody, rhythm, ornamentation and all with assistance from no one.

That doesn't mean this is a one-instrument package, however. Morin leans on a variety of top-notch local musicians for assistance, adding fiddle, organs, accordions, pipes and more -- including, on two tracks, another piano -- to the sound. Most of the album is stripped down to the basics, just piano and guitar.

Morin reinterprets a long list of traditional and contemporary tunes over the course of 17 tracks. All exhibit the artistry of Cape Breton piano styles. Granted, you have to like the piano to appreciate the album -- if you don't like the instrument, you're going to want to look elsewhere.

Just one complaint -- who still believes it's a good idea to leave a long gap of dead air on the final track to divide it from a "secret bonus"? Annoying! I don't know why Morin wanted to hide it anyway; it's a funky track, groovier than the rest, and it shows a clever kind of musical experimentation. Maybe we'll hear more of this on the next one.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 10 January 2004

[ visit the artist's website ]