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Album Review

Alasdair Fraser is already well known and lauded as a Scots fiddle player, giving Natalie Haas (a member of Mark O'Connor's band) a lot to live up to. But she manages it with flying colors, and between them they take a virtual tour of Scotland and beyond. Some hundred years ago the mix of violin and cello was common in Scots music, but most probably not like this. Even on slower pieces like "Prince Charles' Last View of Scotland," the imagination and deftness to the playing demonstrate huge talents at work. On the faster pieces — which are numerous — Haas' cello becomes a bass counterpoint and underpinning to Fraser's wild but precise playing. The sharp tacks of mood as the album criss-crosses the bonnie land — ranging from the Shetlands to the mainland and even across the North Sea for "The Scandinavian" — is a joy, whether they're entertaining the lightness of "Josefin's Waltz" or the centerpiece of "Rob Roy Crosses the Minch," where both musicians are stretched to the absolute limits of their abilities, with exhilarating results for the listener. A future classic of a Scots album.

Customer Reviews

Browncoats, here's River's song!

If you are a fan of the Firefly TV series, then you'll definitely want to buy The Sailor's Wife/The Lads of Duns. This is the song that River danced to in the episode "Safe" right before she was kidnapped. Enjoy!

Fire & Grace

The selection called "Josefin's Waltz" is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard in my 50+ years. The first time I heard it, I was driving on a busy freeway through Portland, Oregon, listening to the radio. I had to wait until returning home before doing a little research and finding what album it was on. It is worth the cost of the album just for this song (not that we have to do it that way, thanks to ITunes!). It is so beautiful it is almost painful!

No Finer Collaboration In Scots Music

I first saw them perform together at a Scottish games in North Carolina. Being a working musician myself, it takes something extraordinary to turn my ear. When I heard the sound coming from that stage, it turned my whole body for a solid hour. I had never seen or heard such perfection. The moment was unforgettable, as any great live performance should be. "Fire and Grace" indeed captures the passion and energy of this duo. The arrangements are fresh - The sonic quality an A+. Alasdair Fraser is truly one of our times greatest Scots fiddlers, with Natalie Haas, a blazing star on the cello, complimenting his fire with grace. This synergistic effort is one of my all time faves. Celtic music lovers as well a classical music lovers would enjoy it just the same.

Biography

Born: May 14, 1955

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Alasdair Fraser is one of Scotland's most influential tradition-rooted fiddlers. A two-time winner of the open competition of the Scottish National Fiddle Championship, Fraser continues to expand the musical traditions of his homeland with his expressive and virtuosic playing. In addition to performing more than 50 times on BBC radio and television shows (and, in the U.S., on A Prairie Home Companion), Fraser has been featured on the soundtracks of such films as Titanic, Braveheart, The Spitfire...
Full Bio
Fire & Grace, Alasdair Fraser
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