CD Review: Colin Grant – Fun for the Whole Family
Following up the summer release of The Toy EP, Colin Grant has recently released his second full length album Fun for the Whole Family. With this release, Colin has joined forces with many respected musicians from Cape Breton Island and across Nova Scotia. He has chosen the who’s who of piano players to complement his tune selections. Jason Roach, Doug MacPhee, Jason Kempt, Robbie Fraser and Adam Young each take their turn at the ivories while the man of a thousand instruments, Darren McMullen, joins in on banjo, guitar, mandolin, and bouzouki. Patrick Gillis, John Grant, Colin Clarke, Donnie Calabrese, Jason MacDonald, Chris Babineau and Shannon Ezzat also lend their talents to this disc individually and in various combinations of piano, guitar, highland pipes, electric guitar, bass and drums. And if that isn’t enough, Colin has his friend Jeff Gosse from Toronto back to do a set.
The CD begins with a pipe tune he composed for the late Jerry Holland; and who better to play a tune on the pipes then Colin’s own father, John Grant? Following the march, he immediately gets going into a set of strathspeys and reels that will surely have your feet tapping.
Colin features a pairing of tunes he learned during his studies in France; the traditional, haunting Breton style of fiddling is clearly evident during the performance of “An Dro”. Colin masterfully works his way through a simple yet powerful original arrangement of the traditional French fiddle tunes.
Colin has made Cheticamp, on the northwestern coast of Cape Breton, his second home. It is only fitting that he would include a group of tunes from that part of the island. Colin and Darren McMullen have played together before collaborating on this CD as both are members of the popular Nova Scotia group Pogey. Their ability to complement each other’s playing is unmistakable on this track. The blend of fiddle and banjo on the “Cheticamp Set” make for a particularly spirited duet.
For any dancers out there, “Aye Right”, which begins with “Jerrianne Dunlop’s Strathspey”, will have you getting up and showing off your steps whether you’re in the kitchen or listening to this set live. Colin is joined by Darren on banjo and bouzouki along with Patty Gillis whose powerful guitar playing makes this track. It’s a great blast of tunes that leaves the listener wanting more.
Colin also has his own band, aside from his more traditional lineup, consisting of Colin Clarke (drums), Donnie Calabrese (bass), Jason Roach (piano) and Darren McMullen (guitar, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki). This group, with Shannon Ezzat on electric guitar, shows off their skill on a few tracks, taking the listener off into a world of dance and mystery. The last track, “Superlative Thirds”, showcases the band’s ability to take a tune to a new level by adding a bit of a rock and roll feel with the drums and bass.
All fifteen tracks have been skillfully put together (co-produced by Mike Shepherd at Lakewind Sound) highlighting not just Colin and his fiddle, but all the instruments working with each other and the talents of every performer involved. Fun for the Whole Family delivers just what the name implies and young children, parents and grand-parents will all enjoy Colin Grant’s second album. You will find yourself dancing in your seat once you press play. Don’t be shy, get up and show your steps around the house.
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