Traditional Irish Music
Kevin Carr's one of my favorite fiddlers and an all around great guy. For years, he's been teaching fiddle at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and he's always quick to help anyone starting out on this difficult and demanding instrument. As fiddler, his style draws from many different traditions–and he's one of the few fiddlers I know who's proficient and respected in each of these traditions–but always manages to sound like his own. There's a lilt to his playing, a lift, and there's also a joyful quality to his ornamentation. His playing is beguiling to me, and I've sat with him at about a hundred sessions over the past decade or so, always enjoying myself immensely. Throughout the time I've known him, he's always played music with his wife, Josie Mendelsohn. Josie's a wonderful piano player (guitar, spoons and fiddle too!) and a great soul as well, so they make a great team. In fact, Josie was a member of the Good Old Persons back in the day with Laurie Lewis! Kevin and Josie tour the Northwest playing contra dances and concerts and Kevin's a wonderful storyteller and bagpiper too. For such a talented duo, it's a true joy to see that their love and passion for music has been passed on to their kids. It hasn't always been an easy road of course–it never is growing up with a lot of expectations from parents and friends that you'd become a musician as well–but the spark was lit in both kids, Molly and Daniel Carr and they've joined with Kevin and Josie to make The Family Carr (great band name btw!).
For Molly, it all clicked into place during a trip to Galicia. Kevin had been going to Galicia for years and learning the music, and Molly found the same comradery there that kept drawing Kevin back. She stayed for a while, and formed a killer young band called As Faiscas. On the new album, Molly sings some beautiful songs, including the Galician song "Canto de Monzos," which includes a beautiful tune on the Galician bagpipes (gaitas) as played by Kevin. Daniel Carr weighs in as well with a charming cover of "Sail Away Ladies," and Josie and Molly's haunting version of the French-Canadian song "Je Sais Bien," is another highlight (this song appears in Josie's indispensable book of French-Canadian songs published by Mel Bay). Kevin sings as well, leading up a fun version of the great old-time song "Wild Hog In the Woods." As mentioned, the album wanders across incredibly diverse ground, as Appalachian old-time tunes rub shoulders with French-Canadian dance tunes learned from old masters and wild Galician tunes join hands with Irish trad session pieces. It's all a lot of fun and a great window in the kind of diverse world of folk music that my generation enjoys today thanks to the hard work of the first folk revival. It's also a great window into the joy of making music as a family.
The Family Carr.
The Family Carr: Wild Hog in the Woods/Elzic's Farewell
This post originally appeared on the Hearth Music Blog. Check out our website and roam through our blog to discover your next favorite artist! We're dedicated to presenting today's best Roots/Americana/World musicians.
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