Review in Irish Music Magazine
Thanks to Seán Laffey for this review of Newberry & Verch’s “Going Home” in Irish Music Magazine!
JOE NEWBERRY and APRIL VERCH
Slab Town Records STR17–02, 12 Tracks, 40 Minutes
April Verch is a vivacious Ottawa Valley fiddler. If you get the chance to see her live show you are in for fun, fine fiddling and step dancing, sometimes simultaneously. On this album she has teamed up with veteran guitar and banjo player Joe Newberry. This is music from the right hand side of North America, the Ozarks, Appalachia and the Ottawa Valley. Sixty year old Newberry is a blow in to North Carolina. He landed there in 1973 and now plays in a four piece called The Law Firm. “We’re just treacherous old guys. We have a ball,” he told the local paper in Raleigh.
The title track I’m Going Home is a co–write between Newberry and Si Kahn (of Aragon Mill fame). It is lovely gentle song, a finger picked guitar over which Newberry’s voice glides, as the song develops until Verch’s fiddle sweeps in and she joins in on harmony vocals, then takes a ramble on the fiddle.
The waltz is a very popular dance in American folk music and Verch has penned a New Waltz, which would lift your feet from the floor. They have a song called I Can’t Sit Down, mountainy music with a religious theme; Verch splicing it with a Trip to Windsor, long bows hitting the minor notes. April is at her most percussive on the Arcand–Saw Traveller with Newberry taking up the five–string banjo, the track shifts into the more familiar Arkansas Traveller as the pace quickens.
In contrast My Dear Childhood Days shows the duo in full control, Newberry’s tenor voice over the drone of the fiddle, at one with the sentiments of the song. April Verch’s version of Back Up and Push is a reminder of the genius of its composer Ward Allen and the wealth of music he gave to the country genre of Canadian fiddling. They pair this with John Brown’s Dead with April hitting the floor for some fancy dancing. (A live video of this is on her website).
Newberry and Verch would be a shoe in for the Shannonside Mid Winter Festival. If you like the American end of the fiddle bow this is a must have for your collection.