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World Music CD Reviews North American

APRIL VERCH

By ROB WEIR
Published May 31, 2006

From Where I Stand
Rounder

Because she’s a Canadian fiddler who dances as she bows, April Verch invariably draws comparisons to Natalie MacMaster. Her latest release (in which she debuts her vocal prowess) proves Alison Krauss might be a better match. With similarly sweet country-tinged tones (though she can’t match Krauss’s range), Verch employs her fiddle in all manner of arrangements. One moment she’s the consummate old-time fiddler (“Fraser Valley Reel”), then she’s a Quebecois clogger (“Reel de St. Marc”), and before you know it an introspective Scot (“Bonnie Lass ’o the Mornin’”). There are also flashes of hoedown (“Dixie Hoedown”), gospel (“I Will Arise”), bluegrass (“I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight”), eastern European (“Faniuk’s Fancy”) and even Latin rhythms (“Spanish For Crown”). Few will fail to be moved by her tribute to John Hartford or her cover of “Jean,” the latter celebrating the overlooked heroism and grit of ordinary people. Forget comparisons, April Verch is an original.