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CD: MATHEW JOHNSON – Carving Out A Tune

Carving Out A Tune
Down Yonder – Donegal Clog – Billy The
Barber Shaved His Father – Reel de L’Aveugle – Concert Reel – Blindman’s
Reel – Jolly Fiddler’s 2-Step – Olympic 2-Step – Walking up Town –
Contessa Waltz – Frank Ryan’s Hornpipe – Carelton County Hornpipe –
Lightning Hornpipe – Listen To The Mockingbird – Screwdriver Rag – Mary
Get Your Shoes – Frenchie’s Reel – Golden Eagle Hornpipe – Dill Pickle
Rag – Festival Waltz – Shingle The Roof – Back Up & Push – Rochester
Schottische – Go To The Devil & Shake Yourself – East Tennessee
Blues – Reel du Fogeron – Salute To Columbia – Yellow Rose Waltz –
Allen’s Reel – Don Messer’s Breakdown – Ida Red – Robbie Dagenais Reel –
Jim’s Heartwarming Waltz – Four String Polka – Fiddle Strings – Four
Mile Run – Spanish Two-Step – Territorial Days Reel – Gfatineau Reel –
Lou Sullivan – Mansion Over The Hilltop
Wow, with the number of tunes on this album, you have to
realize it took awhile to listen to it.  I’m not exactly sure how I came
to receive this incredibly well recorded fiddler, but I’m glad I have
the privilege of listening to this young man play his instrument so
well.  He reminds me so very much of a young Mark O’Connor when Mark
came to Omaha to participate in a fiddle contest with a $10,000 first
prize paid for by the Brandeis Store when Laurier Birginal was still
around and still promoting old-time fiddle.  What an amazing situation
that was, and I have to say what an amazing gathering of incredibly good
old-time fiddle tunes on this one album by Mathew Johnson.  I like
Mathew’s own composition “Screwdriver Rag” but I’m also a Kenny Baker
fan, and Kenny’s “Festival Waltz” is well represented on this
gathering.  Some of the best backing musicians I have ever heard behind a
good fiddler is on this project, and Mathew has ‘combined’ some of his
songs into one compilation, meaning he modulates up and down the scale,
seemingly effortlessly and without warning.  So, these musicians have to
be really good, have as good an ear as Mathew has, and pay very close
attention to what he is doing on the fiddle.  This particular CD is
already pretty old, so I’m not sure what the status is with Mathew
Johnson, but I do know there will be a nomination for induction of him
into America’s Old Time Fiddler’s Hall of Fame.  I will send this
particular CD along to the Rural Roots Music Commission to see their
reaction to this piece of work.  I believe Mathew has a great love for
hornpipes, these sound exceptionally well as he delves into the inner
make-up of these kind of tunes.  There’s a kind of gourd-tapper
horse-clop sounding instrument that joins well  into some rags like
“Dill Pickle,” and enhances the old-time flavor of the songs, making
them sound even vaudevillian.  With the fiddle forsaken in today’s
country music scene, it’s such a pity they have sacrificed this most
magnificent instrument that made country music such a very likable
musical genre, its absence making it such an unlikable one today.  If
you like fiddle music, played well, as much as I do, you need to find
this CD.  It’s out there somewhere, I have it, so it has to be.  “Back
Up And Push” really has that Mark O’Connor touch and brings a million
fond memories back to me of how tremendously great this kind of music
is.  Five stars for this one.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART – www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine

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