Album review

Mark Sullivan – Promenade Home

Three-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion Mark Sullivan is a renowned composer of original Canadian fiddle music.

He is a respected teacher and has won accolades for his playing from such luminaries of the fiddle scene as Donnell Leahy, Calvin Vollrath and Liz Carroll.

He is perhaps most widely known as an old time fiddle player but, as this new release demonstrates, he has eclectic tastes and the technical ability to play in a whole variety of folk-roots related styles.

His playing is pristine. It is clear and precise and beautifully articulated. It is expressive and nimble, and his well-honed musical sensibilities give him a command of a whole range of styles. Waltzes, polkas, jigs, reels, schottisches and airs – they’re all here and more besides!

Not content with that, he also contributes guitar, bass, mandolin and foot percussion to the album.

He is joined by a gifted team of supporting musicians including Paul Chapman on acoustic guitar; Andrew Collins on mandolin; Adam Dobres on acoustic and electric guitar; Sabin Jacques on accordion, feet and bones; Jeremy Rusu on piano, guitar, percussion and bass and Mike Sanyshyn on percussion.

All of the pieces on Promenade Home were written in recognition of the people Mark met and played with at fiddle clubs in Ontario.

The sleeve notes include a dedication for each tune to particular individuals.

“The Renous Moose” is a lively reel with a jaunty feel, commemorating a highway incident with the aforementioned creature.

“Freda’s Foxtrot” has a cool swing-time feel, accentuated by Adam Dobres’s jazzy guitar solos.

“Johnny Luxton’s Reel” has an East Coast feel, with driving piano pushing along the beat and a fleet-fingered acoustic guitar interlude.

“Cec and Zelda’s Old Time Waltz” is an endearing old time number which conjures up images of country dance waltzers swirling around the floor.

“Barrack McHardy’s Air” is a graceful tune with gentle piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment for Mark’s plaintive fiddling.

Promenade Home is a lovely collection of Mark Sullivan’s original Canadian fiddle tunes, many of which sound like they will become beloved standards at fiddle sessions, not just here in Canada, but wherever great fiddle music is appreciated.

There’s more information about Mark’s music here: http://www.marksullivan.ca

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