Pulled together by the magnetic, globe-trotting compositions of Brian Pickell and a love of traditional music, the group is both stunningly musical and energizing to listen to. The band combines the talents of Shane Cook, multiple winner of the Canadian and Grand Masters Fiddle Contests and the American Grand National; revered Ottawa multi-instrumentalist James Stephens on fiddle, mandolin and viola; and Pat O’Gorman, an admired mainstay of the Canadian music scene, on flute, whistles and pipes. Julie Schryer is widely considered to be one of the finest piano accompanists in Canada, and Brian is an accomplished composer, guitarist, and banjo and mandolin player. Together, they are a musical force of nature.
Brian’s compositions are now being played and recorded widely: Deaf Shepherd (Scotland), Tony McManus, arguably the greatest guitarist in Celtic music (Scotland), Liz Doherty (Ireland), The Halali Fiddle Band (USA), Oliver Schroer (Canada), Nicholas Williams (Canada), Pierre Schryer (Canada) and numerous others. They are clearly fresh sounding, yet very friendly to old-time and traditional music.
The material ranges from driving and raucous, to warm and lyrical. Although all the players possess impressive individual skills, this effort is very much about the great joy of playing together.
“Your CD is beautiful! Great musicians, of course, and the most wonderful tunes. Congrats! This CD should be in the home of every Canadian.” – Lillian Wauthier – Presenter / Promoter – Acoustic Harvest.
“I’m telling you folks, this is serious firepower and they don’t disappoint…among this reviewer’s leading contenders for Canadian album of the year.” - Pat Simmonds, The Green Man Review