Current Favorite Albums
- Beolach – Beolach. Great Cape Breton playing, fantastic arrangements, excellent tunes. I just don’t get tired of this album.
- Bruce Molsky. I honestly can’t pick my favorite disc of his, but he’s making up about 50% of what I listen to right now. I’ll keep you posted.
- Ian Carr & Karen Tweed – Fyace, also SHHH. Really innovative guitar and piano accordion – lots of Scandinavian and original repertoire.
- John McCusker – Goodnight Ginger. I want to learn every tune on this CD. John McCusker plays a mean fiddle. (Scottish)
- Karen Tweed & Andy Cutting – One Roof Under. Double accordions, fantastic arrangements. Must be heard to be believed. (Mostly Irish and Scandinavian)
- Niall & Cillian Vallely – Callan Bridge. One brother plays uilleann pipes and whistle, the other concertina. This is pure magic. Another album where I want to learn every tune.
- Rhys Jones & Christina Wheeler – Starry Crown. Double old-time fiddle and some great singing to boot. Yup, you guessed it, this whole album went directly to my “Learn Me” iTunes folder as well.
- Ruthie Dornfeld, Joel Bernstein, Keith Murphy – Ways of the World. Great old-time on fiddle, harmonica (yeah!), banjo, and guitar. Absolutely brilliant.
New England/Contra Repertoire
- Clayfoot Strutters. Old-time influenced contra. The name pretty much says it all.
- Montville Project. 2 CDs chock full of classic New England tunes. A great repertoire source.
- Nightingale. Great contra band based in Vermont, playing a mix of tunes, lots of Irish and Quebecois.
- Popcorn Behavior/Assembly. These guys recorded a couple of great CDs, some when they were just children. I liked the old name better… It looks like Journeywork and Strangest Dream are only available used online. January EP is available on CD Baby.
- Wild Asparagus. I’m amazed my copies of these CDs haven’t worn out. Irish-influenced contra music, some of the first fiddle recordings I owned.
- Across the Waters: Irish Traditional Music From England. (Compilation). Excellent tunes from a variety of players. Part of the same project as Fiddle Sticks.
- Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh. Definitely on the more innovative end of Irish music, he also plays a Norwegian hardanger fiddle. Sweet, sweet sounds. Also check out this series of videos of him playing solo on YouTube.
- Fiddle Sticks: Irish Traditional Music from Donegal. (Compilation). Excellent tunes from a variety of players. Part of the same project as Across the Waters.
- Liz Carroll. Great Irish Trad player from Chicago. She uses less bow than anyone I’ve ever seen, but gets a mighty amount of sound out somehow.
- Lúnasa. Nice tunes, high-power playing. These guys tour the states sometimes.
- Niall & Cillian Vallely. One brother plays uilleann pipes and whistle, the other concertina. They are playing with all sorts, and doing it well.
- Press Gang. These local boys have put a really nice CD together and play a good show to boot.
Scottish and Cape Breton
- Battlefield Band. These guys have been playing for ages, with different line-ups of great musicians. I particularly enjoy their CD Happy Daze.
- Beolach. Great Cape Breton playing, fantastic arrangements, excellent tunes. I also highly recommend the individual band members’ CDs which can also be found at their band site.
- Ed Pearlman.
- John McCusker. A magnificent Scottish fiddler. He also writes a lot of wonderful tunes.
- Natalie MacMaster.
- Neil Pearlman.
- Nicolas Boulerice & Olivier Demers – Le Vent du Nord est Toujours Fret.
- Les Têtes des Violons.
- Vent du Nord.
- Bruce Molsky. Fantastic fiddle and banjo player and singer. I love everything he does. He’s pretty much my hero.
- Dirk Powell.
- Rhys Jones & Christina Wheeler – Starry Crown. Double old-time fiddle and some great singing to boot.
- Haugaard & Høirup. Danish duo.
- Ian Carr & Karen Tweed. They play in Swåp and have recorded a couple of great CDs as a duo.