Storm Queen sidesteps expectation blending Celtic and classical influences across 14 original compositions.
Here on the East Coast, recordings of fiddle music can be found just about everywhere. You can find them in gas stations, at corner stores and even at some locally owned restaurants. Often viewed as both a rite of passage for young musicians and a crowning achievement for seasoned veterans, the abundance of recordings that exist brimming with timeless standards and dancehall favourites is staggering. Needless to say, it’s a major challenge for any fiddler to release a new collection of music and have it standout from the pack.
On her latest release Storm Queen, Fredericton-based fiddler Katherine Moller has sidestepped all expectation commonly associated with new recordings of fiddle music and in doing so, has created something altogether unique and refreshing. Opting to omit the classics that have come to be expected on traditional music recordings, Moller has instead taken the opportunity to present a collection of compositions all her own and has divided them across 14 tracks, each a unique take on the familiar Celtic sound.
“I am really excited about the new CD because it is all original fiddle music,” she said. “I worked with a producer and arranger for the first time, which was an interesting experience. This CD also has a more orchestral feel than anything else that I have done.”
An award winning teacher and performer, Moller is one of the few traditional musicians around to successfully bridge the gap between classical and Celtic playing styles. But while the influence of her classical training can be heard across her previous four recordings shaping her interpretation and execution of timeless jigs and reels as well as her own tunes, Storm Queen is the first of her albums to truly reflect the two distinct worlds that have become a defining aspect of her musical voice.
Listen to the opening track – Kilted Plumber
Moller credits producer Paul Milner and arranger Dan Cutrona for helping her achieve such a rare accomplishment.
“I decided to work with a producer because I feel like my first four CDs have been the same CD over and over in a way,” she said. “I have a certain way that I work and put tunes together, and I wanted to be stretched in new directions while keeping a certain amount of Celtic influence in my music.
“Handing my music over to someone else to work with was very stressful, but it was great because Paul and Dan don’t actually work with Celtic musicians all that much. Paul has recorded Vishten, but that is not his usual area.”
The opening track, Kilted Plumber, establishes a strong and expected Celtic feel through traditional bodhran, guitar and piano accompaniment augmented by lively bass work that hints of the direction the recording soon follows. From there, Moller carries the listener through Scottish, Irish and Breton influences that dip occasionally into Klezmer and classical feels strengthen by dynamic shifts in phrasing and rhythm.
With the release of Storm Queen, Moller affirms her role as one of the province’s most innovative and important purveyors of contemporary Celtic music.
Storm Queen will be officially released June 17 with a performance at the Fredericton Playhouse, where Moller and her own band will be joined by members of Symphony New Brunswick, Dulcinaya’s Carolyn Holyoke and Line Michaud, and the Stanford School of Irish Dance. Tickets for that performance are on sale now at the Fredericton Playhouse box office.
Storm Queen Album Launch | June 17, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. | Fredericton Playhouse | Buy Tickets