If I didn't tell you up front that April Verch and her band are playing from the musical heritage of the Ottawa Valley, you might assume that she is from the American South, or Appalachia, or even New England. The music seems so familiar; part bluegrass, part old timey, part contradance. And as she herself said of her dancing during her concert: "This music originated in the lumber camps. And a lot of people when they see this, they recognize a lot of different dance styles; Irish hardshoe, French Canadian, even clogging or flatfooting... tap dancing in more recent years... if you see any of these dances you're probably right, there's bits and pieces of everything." What this goes to show is that Canada, as much as the United States, is a country built from immigrants, and each ethnicity has brought something to the musical mix. And we hear and see those influences and recognize them right away.
Verch is a wonderful fiddler. She has a rich tone, and a great bowing arm, and a smile that never quits when she plays. She is obviously enjoying herself tremendously. And when she started dancing, she lifted the highly critical WOMEX audience right out of their seats. One of the photographers there confided to me that he was exhausted, just from watching her... but in a good way. As for her dancing, it is polished, exciting, and delivered with that same grin. No wonder her management was mobbed afterwards.
Please make sure to watch this video all the way through, as otherwise you may miss Ms. Verch playing AND dancing simultaneously. She credits the late great John Hartford with inspiring her, and that is easy to see. Her backup band consists of Cody Walters on banjo and bass, and Hayes Griffin on guitar -- and they all sing.
To contact April: aprilverch.com
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