Red Red Rose
Cabot Cheese. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Long Trail Ale. Gypsy Reel. These are delights that anyone who's been kicking around Vermont in the last couple decades has enjoyed. In the land of skis, maple syrup, and technicolor autumn leaves, where the mountains are high, the snow deep, and the cows outnumber the humans, Gypsy Reel has been an essential part of the musical backdrop. With a style that places Celtic melodies and American stringband grooves in high regard, the band has adapted to the challenges of playing live music for all occasions in the Green Mountain state: from rowdy ski area bars and rock 'n' blues clubs to quiet museums and quieter memorial services; from joyous formal weddings and civil ceremonies to casual hiker bars where trail folk have nicknames like "Atticus"; and their mainstay, merry Irish pubs. Add in the travel lust (hence the "gypsy" part of the reel) with choice performances in schools, concert halls, pubs and resorts in choice places like Guatemala, Belize, Green Turtle Cay, Nova Scotia, Ireland, Wales, and England (as recipients of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts), and you get the picture. Gypsy Reel's sixth album, recorded at their ever evolving Mount Hollywood Studio in the hills of Belmont, Mount Holly, Vermont, is chock full of such variety, wandering through "reel" styles. Solid and beautiful Celtic flavored instrumentals and songs, ancient and contemporary, are interwoven with cool originals, French Canadian tunes, a couple rockers from the sixties (Jefferson Airplane, Beatles), and an all American Louvin Brothers ballad (one of the many songs featuring the group's powerful vocal harmonies). This album was recorded on a timetable based on when faraway Gypsies could come to Vermont to record their tracks. Jon Scaife (guitar & cittern) is a physics professor at Sheffield University in England, and Marco Solo (guitar & vocals) lives and plays music in Panajachel, Guatemala. The core Vermont Gypsies, Graham Parker (fiddle), Camille Parker (vocals, mandolin, percussion), Claudine Langille (vocals, tenor banjo, octave mandolin), and Mark Harding (double bass), juggle busy serious day jobs with their lighthearted musical endeavors. This time around, no electric bass and drums as on previous recordings, but Mark's exciting acoustic bass fills the bottom, and Camille is a percussion powerhouse on bodhran and shakers. And Rod Ferrell's engineering prowess delivers the goods. No more hints. Give this album "Red Red Rose" a listen. Then get Gypsy Reel to play live at one of your events. Have a house concert. Or get them to play at your local folk club, or for a fundraiser. Or at your second home in Costa Rica or Newfoundland... You'll see what this high altitude Vermont acoustic groove is all about.