Natalie MacMaster

My Roots Are Showing

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Since Natalie MacMaster is basically a traditional Cape Breton Island Celtic fiddler who sometimes adds more modern elements to her music, a traditional album is an ideal way to hear her in her most natural environment, and My Roots Are Showing, finally issued in the U.S. by Rounder in April 2000 after having been released by Warner Bros. in Canada in 1998, is that album. On most of the 13 cuts, MacMaster combines a series of either public domain pieces or originals by the old masters, including reels, marches, strathspeys, and jigs. For example, "Glad You Made It, Howie!," which probably owes its name to the arrival of pianist Howie MacDonald, who plays on the track, consists of the strathspeys "Mary Scott" (written by J. Scott Skinner), "The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn," "Lord Kelly," and "Sir Harry's Welcome Home" (written by Peter Hardie), plus the reels "The Dismissal Reel" (written by Sandy MacLean), "Paddy on the Turnpike," and "The Yellow Tinker." The exceptions to these lively medleys are two slow, mournful airs, "The Shakin's o' the Pocky" and "A' Chuthag (The Cuckoo)." The best is saved for last, as "A Glencoe Dance Set," a performance live at Glencoe fades up, featuring MacMaster and her fiddler uncle Buddy MacMaster. Natalie MacMaster was only in her mid-twenties when she made My Roots Are Showing, but it proved her sense of the music went back long before her birth.

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