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That's What You Get

Wendy MacIsaac

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Album Review

This is a fine, fine disc by one of the best of the Cape Breton fiddle players. MaclIsaac comes from a family of fine musicians. Foremost among them is Ashley MacIsaac who is an extremely innovative fiddler in his own right, but here contributes some equally wonderful piano on a number of tracks. She is also joined on this disc by her mother and father who are Set Dancers and whose stepping provides an innovative percussive instrument that sets the pace of these tunes. This stepping also gives the listener a true idea of what these tunes were meant for: dancing at social functions. This is the music of the community "get together;" it is the music of the social occasions of Nova Scotia and it is derived from the music that came over from Scotland and Ireland by these peoples' ancestors. These are harsh and cold climates, and the people tend to work hard, enduring isolation from their neighbors for stretches of time. So whenever an occasion arose, there was no better excuse to get together, dance, catch up on the comings and goings, and just celebrate life. You can feel the climate, the yearnings, and the community in this music. It is a testimonial to life, and all the joys and sorrows that life holds. MacIsaac has put together a collection of musicians that have grown up in the tradition of this sound. They have been through the winters, the deaths, and the births that give this music its life. They know what it means and they play with a hearty vigor that invigorates the music. The disc is beautifully paced, spacing jigs and waltzes and reels, and it's very well put together with a sound that reflects the heart that goes into the songs. It is hard to get but well-worth the trouble.

That's What You Get, Wendy MacIsaac
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