Fiddle virtuoso couple MacMaster & Leahy join forces on new album One
Natalie MacMaster is a globally–acclaimed Cape Breton fiddle player who has appeared on numerous CBC, CTV and PBS TV shows and sold over 200,000 albums. Donnell Leahy is the incendiary musical leader of double–Platinum selling, festival–headlining Celtic family group Leahy.
The two musical prodigies met as teenagers, found individual massive career success, and eventually reconnected and were married, becoming the first couple of Celtic music. Today the famous couple have six children and perform together to sold–out crowds in theatres across North America and the UK. They never, however, found the opportunity to record together — until now.
It was a chance meeting of MacMaster with legendary producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple) at sessions he was producing for Scottish–born Canadian singing star Johnny Reid that led to the unlikely musical match between the star producer and the Celtic couple. Smitten with their sound, Ezrin recruited Justin Cortelyou (Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, Alan Jackson) to co–produce, and the two headed to Cape Breton to record the Celtic couple with ace session musicians Mark Kelso, Mac Morin, Tim Edey, Jamie Gatti, Rachel Aucoin and Sabin Jacques.
When asked about their experience recording with such an iconic producer, MacMaster offered: “Bob Ezrin is so musical, truthful and honest in how he works. He heard the music the same way we did.” Added Leahy, “this album is far beyond anything we ever imagined it being.”
Ezrin explained how exciting it was to work with people who are masters at their craft: “Both Natalie and Donnell are truly brilliant musicians whose instruments have become a natural extension of their bodies. They are such accomplished players that whatever they think of they can produce on their violins. It’s absolutely magical!”
There is energy, freshness and unparalleled musicality on One, a completely instrumental album with creative medleys in the Celtic style mixed with originals, with the exception of one track — the deeply emotional vocal lament “Cagaran Gaolach” sung by MacMaster, marking her first ever lead feature vocal to appear on an album. Some of the unconventional approaches used in the studio for this fiddle–centric album included distorted electric guitars on the driving, uptempo “Fiddler’s Despair,” two players on one piano on “Pastiche for Anne” and a drum kit made of paint cans and a cardboard box on “Joyous Waltz.”
MacMaster and Leahy embark on the first leg of an expansive North American tour in February — the majority of dates sold out in advance — billed as Visions From Cape Breton and Beyond, a show which will feature many of the songs from One.
“We really can’t imagine ourselves doing anything else. All of this coming together was inevitable.” — Donnell Leahy
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