Album Review - Natalie Padilla & Blayne Chastain / Fiddle & Flute

You will probably be familiar with Blayne Chastain as the creator of the excellent i -Teach web resource, which has now been further enhanced with a new bodhrán course. What you would like to know when signing up for these courses is, can the teacher play,  has he recorded, and if so what's it like?  Well on the basis of Fiddle & Flute you are in safe hands because Blayne teams up with Natalie Padilla on fidddle and Peter Romero on piano and together they display an innate understanding of what this music should be.   They have no doubt studied some of the greats before coming up with the album concept because their music is something that many artists should aspire to, such is its authenticity. Their arrangements are grounded in as tight a duet as you will find, with both musicians dancing a jig or reel in unison on the swell of music that they create with Peter Romero's delft touch on piano. It's fiddle and flute plain and simple.  Their understanding of their music is unwavering and they deliver it here with style and clarity.

There are some well known tunes interspersed among the 13 tracks that make up the album and as always it is good to hear the old with the new. The opening couple of sets are lively reels and jigs with the well know Martin Wynnes No.3, and the jig Tar Road To Sligo, Sliabh Russell and Munster Buttermilk.  In addition to these The Arra Mountains / Give Me a Drink of Water / Paddy O' Snap are delivered with a great lift to the arrangement.  Over The Moore To Maggie / Mossy Banks likewise.  In fact you could pick any of the tracks and you wouldn't be disappointed.  What you have is fiddle and flute in perfect unison while still leaving enough room for individual variation on either instrument.

Duo/trio albums always hold a certain appeal and we have had many great ones over the years. When they spark to life and the musicians are on top of their game the result can be a treasure.   These to me are the type of albums that get under my skin the most and get repeated plays.  The presentation is never too cluttered and you can more closely hear what is going on and how the musicians are playing off each other.  I need only mention albums like Linnane/Hill or Molloy/Peoples, or even more recently our own Clohessy and Costello with the Bosca Ceoil and Fiddle album.  On Fiddle & Flute we have another one and it is indeed a pleasure to hear these two musicians with the accompaniment of Peter Romero bring their chosen tunes to life.  It is an album of tight, well arranged and inspiring music throughout.  Their musical sparring is a delight and at the end you are wishing they would just go another few rounds.

Buy it here on

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Comment by maki on September 9, 2012 at 14:03

Still one of my favorite albums of trad.


Comment by Ellen Fitzgerald on May 22, 2012 at 14:12

Nice review for this Colorado based teacher for the world.

Comment by Blayne Chastain on May 16, 2012 at 2:09

Thanks for the review Tony!

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