Baroque N' Fiddle String Quartet

The Disc

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Baroque N' Fiddle String Quartet    
Buttermilk Mary    

Brad Reid: fiddle, piano    
Simon-Philippe Allard: violin              
Rory McLeod: viola               
Catherine Little: cello               
Cassie MacDonald: steps (7)

1. Lime Hill 
Lime Hill Strathspey (Dan R. MacDonald),
Keep the Country Bonnie Lassie, 
Jack Daniel's Reel (John Morris Rankin), 
Traditional Reel

John Morris Rankin is one of my major influences for Cape Breton fiddle, and for his piano accompaniment as well. The tunes in this set can be heard played by John Morris on The Rankin Family's Fare Thee Well Love album. I took some liberty in adding a few background melody lines for the string quartet setting.

2. Buttermilk Mary
Tom MacCormack, I Lost My Love, Buttermilk Mary

This was one of the first sets of tunes I arranged for the BNFSQ, attempting to adapt the rhythms of the traditional piano accompaniment style to the string quartet (which is really the essence of my concept for BNFSQ). We also filmed a video of this set, so it seemed fitting to name the album after it.

3. The Sweeps and the Fairy Dance
The Sweeps Hornpipe, The Fairy Dance Reel

Two lively and well known tunes here - one Irish and one Scottish. I particularly enjoy hearing the descending viola line in the second part of the reel. I think it is quite effective!

4. Neil Gow's Lament
Neil Gow's Lament for the Death of His Second Wife

A standard slow air in the Scottish and Cape Breton repetoire, I think this tune lends itself quite well to the string quartet setting.

5. Miss Carmichael
Miss Carmichael, Traditional Jig, Counselor's Jig

Here's a few jigs in the traditional fiddle/piano style found in Cape Breton. I learned the third part of the Counselor's jig from guitarist/fiddler Dave MacIsaac, while we were playing for my father's retirement party.

6. The House Across from Flora's 
The House Across from Flora's 
(Brad Reid)

I wrote this tune a few years ago, and it reminded me of the winding driveway to my cousin's house just outside Cheticamp, Cape Breton. It's right across the road from Flora's Craft Shop. I had the idea for a duet with the cello, and this was the result. The middle section of the cello part makes me think of an old fashioned Cape Breton milling frolic!

7. Give Us a Step!
Dusky Meadow Strathspey, Mrs. MacLeod of Raasay

Cassie MacDonald is great fiddler and step dancer, and a friend of mine, so we got her in to give us a few steps for this cut. Two lively tunes that you'll hear in Cape Breton for sure.

8. Heavy is My Fate
Heavy is My Fate

This beautiful air is made even more haunting by the richness of the cello, and you can hear Catherine draw on her own Cape Breton roots.

9. Emily's Reel
Emily's Reel (Mark O'Connor)

I found this tune arranged for the trio setting of fiddle, viola, and cello. It was so much fun to play, that I added a second violin part for a quartet setting. I think the arrangement really highlights the spirited playing of everyone that was in the studio that day, so thank you Simon-Philippe, Rory, Catherine, and Cassie, and to Scott as well for getting it all "on tape". 

I also thank you, the listener, and hope you enjoy this project as much as we did!

 -- Brad Reid

[All tunes are traditional except where noted. Arrangements by Baroque N' Fiddle String Quartet, except Emily's Reel - O'Connor/Meyer, adapted to quartet setting by BNFSQ. BNFSQ would like to acknowledge the support of Michael Walsh at ADL Investments Ltd., Irene Lefort, Denise Lefort, and Glen and Lucille Reid. Produced by Brad Reid. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Scott Ferguson at Studio FMP in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2012.]