You’ve probably heard the old joke about how the world is divided into two types of people: those who divide the world into two types of people and those who don’t. The application here is to the realm of fiddle tunes. There are musicians deeply immersed in bluegrass or old-time or Celtic music, who are quite adamant about not letting their favorite niche wander over stylistic borderlines. And then, there are those who passionately love the tunes and relish how the music can flit easily and freely back and forth across those selfsame boundaries.
It’s clear that the four members of Charm City Junction are in the latter camp. Fiddler Patrick McAvinue, banjoist Brad Kolodner, accordionist Sean McComiskey, and bassist Alex Lacquement are Baltimore-area musicians who revel in the diversity of their repertoire. Drawing with equal fervor from Bill Monroe and Irish concertinist Cormac Begley, Benny Martin, and County Cork fiddler Connie O’Connell, the 14 tracks on their debut recording explore the common ground of grooves and modes among their shared musical worlds.
Any tune collection, even with three vocal tracks interspersed throughout, can risk a certain sameness to the listener, but this band takes their arranging seriously. They shift “Bogs Of Shanaheaver” from major to minor key, layer accelerating tempos onto “Greasy Coat” and “Joe Bane’s Barndance,” incorporate body percussion, and showcase bassist Lacquement plucking and bowing melody and rhythmic pulses, enabling each piece to feature a distinct identity. McAvinue’s fiddle and McComiskey’s accordion blend seamlessly on “Torn Jacket”/“Come West Along The Road.” And when they choose to, the group locks into a straightforward old-time drive on the numbers “Two O’Clock In The Morning” and “New River Train.”
Tune lovers with their musical passports updated will absolutely love what this talented quartet has done with this vibrant and wide-ranging CD. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)HK