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Fit As A Fiddle
Release Date: 1993
CD OUT OF PRINT
Recorded at CBC Studio H., Halifax, May 1993. Produced by Glenn Meisner and Dave MacIsaac. This is Natalie’s first recording released on CD and is full of lively and fresh arrangements and includes many noteworthy musicians.
1993 saw Natalie back in the recording studio to update her sound and take it to another level. This is a traditionally based recording which has stood the test of time like few others.
Recorded before her recording contracts were in place and world wide touring schedules were in full flight, this is still Cape Breton fiddle music in a very basic but beautiful setting. The accompaniment is top-notch with Dave MacIsaac on Guitar, Tracey Dares and Howie MacDonald on Piano, Jamie MacInnis on Highland Bagpipes and Sandy Moore on Harp.
Featured prominently are Celtic guitarist extraordinaire, Dave MacIsaac and piano player Tracey Dares. Highlights include: the beautiful, “If Ever You Were Mine” and the ever popular, “Jean’s Reel”. The artwork was changed completely for this title in 1996. The recording was also remastered at that time.
“… Fit as a Fiddle is a brilliant album. 13 tracks, mostly sets of strathspeys and reels or jig sets with acouple of airs and a waltz thrown in, fairly jump off the CD with excitement and driving rhythms.”
– Northern Journey
“… Her playing does justice to those slow but methodical strathspeys with their sudden surprises of multiple triplets, and the jigs and reels are infectiously fun. Her snappy bow work adds bounce to the tunes. She knows how to “drive ’em” as they say down East”
– Gordon Fisch, Northern Journey
Release Date: 1996
CD OUT OF PRINT
In 1989, Natalie MacMaster, then only 16, recorded her first album entitled, “Four On The Floor”. This album was made available only on cassette, however, helped bring Natalie’s personal and dynamic fiddle style to the attention of a much wider audience and helped launch her new career in traditional music.
Just two years later, Natalie followed up by releasing her second album, “Road To The Isle”, also only on cassette. These two titles went on to sell over 12 000 copies respectively. This was accomplished without a record label or distribution company.
Finally in 1996, highlights from both of these early recordings were combined to form this remastered CD release, “A Compilation”. The repertoire is classic Cape Breton: traditional tunes learned from such masters as Winston Fitzgerald and her uncle Buddy MacMaster, alongside tunes by island composers such as Jerry Holland and Dan R. MacDonald. Solid accompaniiment is provided by pianist John Morris Rankin, Betty Lou Beaton and guitarist Dave MacIsaac. On some tracks her own step-dancing can also be heard, which will evoke a strong image for listeners who have seen her perform live.
This CD is an excellent indication of Natalie’s very traditional beginnings and a wonderful collection of traditional fiddle tunes.
“… Her stellar performance on this recording foretells the direction and maturating Natalie MacMaster will undergo, propelling her ascent and designation as one of today’s elite young traditional fiddlers” — Celtic Music Magazine
Release date: 1996
CD OUT OF PRINT
Early in 1996, Natalie MacMaster signed recording contracts and distribution deals that saw her recordings made available worldwide. In anticipation of this new level of accessability, Natalie set about making a more progressive and varied recording than she had ever made before.
Included on this recording are guest vocalists, Bruce Guthro on “Fiddle and Bow”(which he wrote for Natalie); and Cookie Rankin (The Rankins) on “Drunken Piper” and also features the talents of Tracey Dares, Howie MacDonald, Dave MacIsaac and many more.
Three music videos were produced for tracks from this recording, including the high energy “Catharsis”, “Fiddle and Bow” and “Drunken Piper”.
This is a recording not only for fans of great fiddle music but for fans of any great listenable music. This recording earned Natalie MacMaster her first Juno nomination and has gone Gold in Canada. The repertoire chosen for this recording includes good old-time Cape Breton fiddle tunes as well as tunes gleaned from her extensive travels.
“…Most of the music is, in fact, quite traditional and all of it is traditional at root, bringing echoes of a culture long relegated to the fringes. It is good to hear it coming back with such vitality. At just 24 years of age, Natalie MacMaster has a talent far beyond her years and is well worth giving a listen”
— Sound Bytes
“… Kudos to Natalie for expanding her music while maintaining a wholesome traditional core. A fine album with good liner notes. Highly recommended.”
— Northern Journey
“… No Boundaries is a must-have for fans of the Celtic fiddle, and particularly those who love the Cape Breton style”
Release date Canada: October 3, 2006
Release date USA: October 10, 2006
Recorded in Halifax, Kingston, Toronto and Calgary, “Yours Truly” is Natalie’s 10th release, co-produced with husband Donnell Leahy.
It features a mix of traditional and contemporary numbers as well as several originals, including a rendition of “Danny Boy” sung by Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and “Farewell To Peter,” which MacMaster wrote to pay her respects to her friend, the late Canadian newsman, Peter Jennings. The traditional medley features Natalie’s aunt Betty Lou Beaton on piano.
The album also prominently features Natalie’s touring band and a variety of international musicians.
Natalie & Buddy MacMaster
Release date: August 18, 2005
There is a cassette tape I often listen to of uncle Buddy and John Morris Rankin at the firehall in Mabou in 1986.
It’s not of studio quality as it was recorded on an old cassette machine, but it is magic. I often play along with it.
It occurred to me one day that Buddy and I should record some of those tunes together in a studio, as we had never done so before. The music would be a keepsake for our family and we could have the option of using a track or two on one of our own future solo recordings.
After playing some of these great “Buddy tunes” together, we both felt quite good about the music and reached the conclusion that this recording should become its own CD – a permanent imprint of a family tradition passed down from uncle to niece. This tradition also includes my aunt (Buddy’s sister), Betty Lou Beaton on piano.
I have predominantly listened to Buddy’s fiddling throughout my life –on home recordings, at square dances and live at family gatherings and parties. He has influenced my fiddling immensely. This recording is a tribute to his music, our family traditions and to Cape Breton Island.
~ Natalie MacMaster
My Roots Are Showing
Release date: 1998
CD OUT OF PRINT
Recorded at Lakewind Sound Studios, Point Aconi, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in December 1997 and produced by Natalie herself. Natalie goes back to her roots, playing the traditional music that first called her to pick up the bow.
The selections are divided up into surprisingly long sets of five to seven Jigs, Reels, Strathspeys, and Marches. Each set builds up an irresistible head of steam, climaxing to a breathless, pile driving conclusion. My Roots Are Showing is a terrific example of the strength of the Cape Breton fiddle tradition.
The cover pictures Natalie standing in front of a tree composed of photographs of members of her own musical family going back several generations. For the finale, one of the pictures comes to life, as she and her uncle, master fiddler Buddy MacMaster, join for a set recorded live at a Glencoe dance. The two inspire each other to new melodic heights. This is sweet and joyful music performed by a master of the style.
“… One should take the title of Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster’s album seriously: Her roots in the traditional fiddle music of Cape Breton Island are clearly highlighted here”
— Barnes & Noble
“… Backed by musicians on piano and acoustic guitar, her timing is impeccable and her energy infectious — it almost makes you want to get up and stepdance”
— Ottawa Citizen
“… My Roots Are Showing is a terrific example of the strength of the Cape Breton fiddle tradition, executed by one its foremost practitioners”
— Ron Foley MacDonald, Halifax Daily News
“… Definitely one for any fiddle collector, by a world leader in the craft.”
— Scots Magazine
Release Date: 2003
CD OUT OF PRINT
Bluegrass and Celtic music are close cousins, with shared roots dating back several hundred years. Natalie has enlisted some of the world’s top bluegrass pickers-including Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer and Alison Brown for her latest album, BLUEPRINT. Also featured on the album are some of Natalie’s band members, Brad Davidge on Guitar and Matt MacIsaac on Bagpipes and Whistles, along with several fellow Cape Bretoners.
With Blueprint, Natalie is once again pushing the boundaries for traditional music, fusing her brilliant Cape Breton fiddling with the sounds of Banjo, Dobro and Mandolin, as played by the cream of America’s bluegrass community. “Alison Krauss was the artist who first got me listening to bluegrass music,” recalls MacMaster. “With this album, maybe I can do the same thing and attract people to traditional Cape Breton music.”
“MacMaster has reached a level of visibility and musical success that only a few of her traditional-music contemporaries have achieved… a confident bandleader, a versatile fiddler, an electrifying step dancer, and, above all, a performer who definitely knows who to work a crowd.” — Michael Parrish, Dirty Linen
Release date: 2002
CD OUT OF PRINT
LIVE is a double-CD, released in May 2002. It features the full-band sound as well as the traditional sounds of a Cape Breton square dance.
Disc one is representative of her high-powered, full band, musically progressive show, which has a reputation of bringing down houses no matter the venue. This collection was culled from the live recording of a concert at The Living Arts Center, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; which also served as the foundation for her nationally broadcast TV special.
Disc two features Natalie in her own “backyard” playing for a very traditional Cape Breton style square dance at the Glencoe Mills hall, on a long dirt road deep in the wooded foot hills of Cape Breton near her home of Troy. The CD is a window into the age-old traditions that were the foundation of everything Natalie has since become. Natalie’s double live CD packs a very well rounded and diverse musical punch, featuring something for everyone; not only fans of great fiddle playing but any fan of fantastic music.
“Whether she’s fronting a seven-piece show band or leading an acoustic trio, Natalie MacMaster stamps her authority on the music with a firm bow”
– Alex Monaghan, Folk World
“This new double CD captures both sides of the talented musician”
– Sandy MacDonald, Halifax Daily News
In My Hands
Release Date: 1999
CD OUT OF PRINT
With its innovative blend of old and new, In My Hands has been a big success and was the start of a new stage in Natalie’s career. Recorded in Nashville, Cape Breton, Toronto and Scotland during early 1999, Natalie is accompanied by a host of talented artists throughout the album. The album was entirely produced by fellow Cape Bretoner, Gordie Sampson.
Many stellar players are featured on the recording including: two tracks with Irish accordion player, Sharon Shannon recorded in Scotland in January, several tracks featuring the jazz overtones of Holly Cole’s band, a track featuring Mark O’Connor in a duet with Natalie on a number inspired by and dedicated to Natalie called “The Olympic Reel”, an exciting duet with Canadian Spanish style guitarist, Jesse Cook titled, “The Flamenco Fling” and a vocal-fiddle duet with Rounder Records own, Alison Krauss, on a ballad written by Gordie Sampson, “Get Me Through December”… AND Natalie MacMaster’s debut as a lead vocalist on her own innovative composition “In My Hands”.
“… Pure musical wizardry, the work of an attractive young artist filled with potential world
music star quality.” — The Los Angeles Times
” … This could easily be the musical event of the year” — The Irish Edition
“… Fabulous album. Admirers of Cape Breton fiddling may buy with confidence”
— Anja Beinroth, Folk World