Anna Schaad

Songspell

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Guitarist David MacVittie was all over violist/violinist Anna Schaad's self-released 1998 debut album The Raven Project, so it is not surprising that she has promoted him to co-headlining status on the second album released by her Raven Fiddle Productions label, Songspell. Someone may have suggest to Schaad that she characterize her musical style as an aid to consumers, since there is a legend on the back cover of the CD that reads, "Celtic-blues fusion." That is as good a description as any for Schaad and MacVittie's neo-traditional Celtic sound (she also uses the term "rock & reel" in the liner notes, which isn't bad, either). Now that they are a duo, one might say that the Celtic part is contributed by Schaad and the blues part by MacVittie, but that's a simplification. The guitarist earns his co-billing with a trio of tunes toward the middle of the disc, "Tumbleweed," a folk-blues number complete with harmonica; "Lucky 13," for which he breaks out a Gibson electric guitar to play the blues; and "Sweetgrass," a folk melody. Schaad, who plays electric five-string violas and violins in addition to traditional instruments, provides the more traditional-sounding music, especially when she's performing with the bagpipes of Adam Quinn. As with The Raven Project, Songspell is a Celtic hybrid collection by musicians who understand tradition but also live in the modern world and bring in more contemporary influences.