April Verch Band
The Point presents The April Verch Band
Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 7:30pm
Chandler Center for the Arts - Randolph, VT
Canada’s Ottawa Valley meets old-time Appalachia with crack fiddling, electric step dancing, and great vocals. The April Verch Band — rounded out by bassist and clawhammer banjo player Cody Walters and guitarist Hayes Griffin — is an energetic, virtuosic, tradition-celebrating outfit. It doesn’t hurt that the thrilling grand finale involves Verch fiddling and step dancing — and often executing two entirely different intricate rhythmic patterns — at once.
Verch is the ﬁrst woman in history to win both of Canada’s most prestigious ﬁddle championships – the Grand Masters and Canadian Open – and has been called a “world class fiddler” by Sam Bush. It’s an opinion her home country seems to agree with, selecting her to perform in the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
The JUNO Award nominated artist’s high-energy show blends her talents as a fiddler, singer/songwriter and stepdancer into a charming, vibrant display of music and dancing that sets her apart from the rest. It’s old-time with a side of Canada’s Ottawa Valley, mixing plucky, straight-backed Canadian tunes with ancient Appalachian ballads with such a deft touch they appear to have been neighbors for centuries.
At times she sounds like Alison Krauss with a little bit of Natalie MacMaster thrown in. Like Krauss, Verch made her initial mark as a fiddler, but now she also catches listeners’ attention with vulnerable vocals whose light tones can evoke utter sincerity. While Krauss leaves most of the fancy instrumental work to hired hands these days, Verch evokes MacMaster with her high-energy bowing and step-dancing, combining musical talent with an instinct for spectacle. This new mix of bluegrass, country, old-time melodies and original material are a winning combination.
Verch’s dancing and fiddle playing are both strongly rooted in the musical traditions of Canada’s Ottawa Valley, where she and her family have lived for generations. The region stretches from Ottawa, westward along the shores of the Ottawa River, to the northern tip of Algonquin Park. Immigrants from France, Scotland, Ireland, Poland and Germany, who were drawn to the region’s logging camps, brought with them a passion for fiddle music.
Those without an instrument would often use their feet to accompany the music, and the form of dance, now known as Ottawa Valley stepdancing, developed. Fiddle music and stepdancing continue to be prevalent throughout the valley and still inform Verch’s style today.
Throw down the plywood and let April and the boys do the rest! They’ll knock your socks off!