It is obvious by the end of the first song on this new album by Fred Carpenter and Tim May that the virtuosity expected from these two wonderful musicians is in full effect.
A wonderfully arranged take on the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out,” the opening cut is one of several new acoustic versions of some popular songs from back-in-the-day featured on the project. Interspersed throughout, however, are an equal number of classic fiddle tunes such as “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” “Cherokee Shuffle,” and “Fishers Hornpipe,” all performed with a fresh approach.
Carpenter is the owner of the Violin Shop, a well-respected music business located in Nashville. He is also known as a top-notch fiddler who has played with artists such as Tony Rice, Emmylou Harris, the Dillards, and Kathy Mattea. May is a flatpick guitarist extraordinaire, a top session musician who is a Grand Ole Opry veteran performing on the show many times with Mike Snider. But this is more than just a duet album as bassist Charlie Chadwick was brought in to round out these songs and make them sound full to the brim. Taylor Carpenter plays the drums on the first track.
Along with fiddle tunes and remakes of popular fare from the American Songbook, Carpenter and May add to the diversity of this project with the Celtic sounds of “Isle Of Inishmore (Aire),” which then morphs into a beautiful version of the Orleans hit, “Dance With Me.” They also break out their jazz chops with a romping approach to Ira and George Gershwin’s “Lady Be Good.” The only song that really doesn’t quite hold up is “What A Wonderful World,” but only because it has been so overdone throughout the years. The rest of the album, however, is fun, powerful and superb. (Violin Shop, 220 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville, TN 37221, www.carpenterandmay.com.) DH