Personnel: April Verch (vocals, fiddle); Chas Justus (guitar, background vocals); Chris Stafford (acoustic guitar); Benoit LeGault (piano); David Greeley (background vocals).
On her third disc for the Rounder label, Canadian fiddler, singer, and step dancer April Verch continues to explore the folk traditions of her own native region as well as those of the regions south of the border (Canada's border with the U.S., that is) and more modern country and folk-rock sounds. Other artists might eventually meld all of those varied influences into a personal multicultural fusion, but that doesn't seem to be Verch's inclination. Instead, she jumps from one style to another, skirling out a vigorous set of jigs or crooked French reels one minute, then delivering a jazzy original tune or a straight-up country weeper the next. There's nothing willful at all about her sound. She's just making the music that she loves, and she happens to love several different kinds of music, so the overall mood is one of joyful eclecticism rather than pretentious overreaching. Verch is a very fine singer, and does a great job interpreting the Missy Raines/Claire Lynch
composition "All in a Night" as acoustic country-rock, and is also very convincing on the slightly maudlin "I Still Cry." But she really shines when she pulls out the stops on the dance sets, the best of which include a brilliant medley of jigs titled "Loggers in the Short Grass" and the spectacular "Grand Slaque" set. There's something eternal about the combination of a fiddle, a piano, and an upbeat but slightly melancholy dance tune, and Verch has tapped into that something in a deep way. Kudos to producer Dirk Powell for keeping her sound clean, focused, and uncluttered -- and for pitching in some excellent fretless banjo on a couple of tracks. Very highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
Dirty Linen (p.89) - "TAKE ME BACK bustles with nimble instrumentals offset by more vocals than on previous albums..."