Bruce Molsky first became known as an old-time fiddler and banjo player. His fiddling is world-renowned, and he has expanded it to Scandinavian and Metis fiddling and beyond. He is also an excellent banjo and guitar player. The guitar was his first instrument, however, and that is what he plays on this Tiki Parlour CD.
I first saw him play solo guitar at the 1996 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, where he debuted a guitar piece he had written entitled “Brothers and Sisters.” He described the LP of African revolutionary music that inspired it, and I told him that I had belonged to the organization, Liberation Support Movement, which produced that record.
This recording has 11 tracks, none of which is American old-time music but all of which are very musically satisfying. The first cut is “Iasitera,” composed in the 1930s by the Malagasy musician Razafimahefa and recorded by Germain Rakotomavo. Next is “Bye Bye Baby Blues” by Little Hat Jones with Darol Anger accompanying on fiddle. “Kom Hem” (Come Home) is from the Swedish band Hoven Droven. “Bruce 3/4 Kaira Bah” is a waltz by Swedish fiddler Ellika Hjalmarsdotter Frisell, who played it with Bruce and West African singer Solo Cissokho on an earlier recording. “Can’t Win” was recorded by the Invincibles in 1966 as a rhythm and blues piece. “Tostando Cancha” is a Peruvian tune. “Flos Chun a’ Bháird” (A Message to the Bard) is sung by Mary Ann Kennedy. It was written by William Livingston, a 19th century Scottish nationalist. “Boogie Woogie Dance” comes from Tampa Red. “Si Bheag, Si Mhór” is an O’Carolan tune. “Facing the Chair” is a song about Sacco and Vanzetti (Italian anarchists executed in Boston in the early 20th century for a crime they did not commit) by Andy Irvine, with whom Bruce played in Mozaik. “Dear Jill” was written by Michael Timothy Abrahams and recorded by Blodwyn Pig. Darol also fiddles on this one.
Even without his fiddle, Bruce has outdone himself again. These guitar pieces provide us with a world tour with a very skilled guide.
The CD can be purchased on the Tiki Parlour website.
Bruce Molsky: Guitar
Everywhere You Go