Mighty Squirrel | Mighty Squirrel

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Album Links
Mighty Squirrel Web Page Tradebit Miles and Karina Web Page PayPlay Apple iTunes Greg Spatz Webpage Ivan Rosenberg's Web Page

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United States - Washington

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Folk: String Band Country: Old-Timey Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Mighty Squirrel

by Mighty Squirrel

World Time folk music: global roots music including Appalachian old time, Klezmer, songs of the British Isles, swing and more. Features veteran bluegrass and folk musicians Dave Keenan, Ivan Rosenberg, Greg Spatz and Caridwen Spatz.
Genre: Folk: String Band
Release Date: 

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1. The Grinding Grain
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3:15 $0.99
2. Squirrel Hunters
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2:13 $0.99
3. Belle Hirondelle
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3:08 $0.99
4. Abi Gezunt
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2:44 $0.99
5. Seneca Square Dance
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6. We Will Have Our Day
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4:10 $0.99
7. Lady Franklin's Dream
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4:22 $0.99
8. Gas Nigun
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3:16 $0.99
9. Leather-Winged Bat
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2:54 $0.99
10. Midnight on the Water
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mighty Squirrel plays everything from Appalachian old time and classic country to Yiddish swing, Celtic, and French Canadian--it's essentially old time music from around the world, a genre we like to call "World Time" music.

The band is Caridwen Irvine Spatz (vocals, fiddle), Greg Spatz (octave mandolin, fiddle, mandolin), David Keenan (National Reso-Phonic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, vocals), and Ivan Rosenberg (dobro, clawhammer banjo, vocals).

Caridwen Irvine Spatz has played fiddle since the age of 13 when her mother told her not to. The reverse psychology worked like a charm. She studied violin and opera at the Freiburg Hochschule fur Musikk, and she's fluent in many fiddle styles, especially Celtic and Klezmer. Singing in French, English, German, Italian, Russian, and Yiddish, Caridwen is often the only one in the band with any idea what the lyrical content is, though she insists most songs are about small mammals or birds.

Based in Spokane WA, Greg Spatz is best known for his work with the Juno nominated bluegrass band John Reischman and the Jaybirds (www.thejaybirds.com). He has performed and/or recorded with Rob Ickes, High Country, The Good Old Persons, Frank Wakefield, Tony Furtado, Kathy Kallick, and many others. You can hear him on all of the Jaybird's recordings: Stellar Jays, The Road West, Field Guide, and The Jaybirds.

A closet mandolin player for as long as anyone can remember, Greg also discovered the joys of playing in the lower frequencies, and has consequently become a devoted octave mandolin convert. He's thrilled for the opportunity it gives him to stretch his musical horizons waa-a-ay beyond bluegrass.

Greg's literary doppelgänger "Gregory Spatz" is a well published author with two novels, a book of short stories, and numerous individual fiction and nonfiction pieces to his credit. His latest novel is Fiddler's Dream, which many consider to be the best novel ever written about bluegrass music. You can find more information about Greg's writing at www.gregoryspatz.com or by listening to a recent review from NPR's All Things Considered (www.npr.org).

David Keenan is no stranger to music. Performing since the age of 12 and teaching since he was 17, David has turned a love of music into a full-time career that has seen him share the stage with the likes of Bill Monroe, Bela Fleck, and even Garrison Keilor. David’s proficiency on several instruments landed him a job with Sugar Hill recording artists Ranch Romance, with which he recorded 3 albums and toured for 5 years, playing over 100 shows a year throughout the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

David is currently a member of several bands in his native city of Seattle. He's a fine composer, having licensed many songs to background music giant Muzak. David is also a record producer and session player, and has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, the California Coast Music Camp, and The American Banjo Camp.

In Mighty Squirrel, David mostly flatpicks (and occasionally plays percussion on) his National Reso-Phonic guitar. He also sings and plays mandolin, fiddle, and three-finger banjo, and is Mighty Squirrel's fashion coordinator, keeping the band well-stocked in vintage plaid...

Ivan Rosenberg has released 4 CDs of mostly-original music and an instructional DVD. Now living in Bellingham, Washington, Ivan has performed and/or recorded with Billy Cardine, Julie Elkins & David Thompson, Mike Grigoni, Chad Manning, Jake Schepps, Ben Winship, Iron Lasso, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, The Mountain Poodles, Hit & Run, and other bluegrass and Americana acts. In addition to Mighty Squirrel, Ivan plays with alt-bluegrass band The Breakmen whenever he gets the chance.

Ivan’s original music for dobro and clawhammer banjo has appeared in several film and television scores including Jerry Bruckheimer/Warner Brothers Films' Kangaroo Jack (2003), HBO's Making Deadwood: The Show Behind the Show (2004), Comedy Central's The Daily Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and High Plains Films' acclaimed documentary Libby, Montana (2004). He has led seminars at the Sore Fingers Week bluegrass workshop in the United Kingdom (2004), the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop (BCBW) in Canada (2003-2007), and the California Bluegrass Association music camp in California (2004, 2005), and many other workshops throughout North America..


Reviews


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Bluegrass Unlimited

Great Listening
The material does not fit into any neat classification. However, it's all great listening, and if you are willing to open your ears to such diverse music, you just might enjoy it!

Bluegrass Beacon

Unique traditional music by suberb musicians
"This is another rare treat: a debut CD of traditional music by a lineup of suberb musicians that offers something unique, not just warmed-over covers of tunes we've all heard before... The music is a mix of traditional Appalachian, Yiddish, Celtic, and French-Canadian songs and instrumentals... It all works wonderfully well together.
Caridewen is a phenomenal lead vocalist... As you'd expect from this group, the musicianship is outstanding. For those of you who enjoy traditional music as well as bluegrass, treat yourself to this great initial outing from Mighty Squirrel.
Kate Bailey, Bluegrass Beacon

Calvin Daniels

Absolutely alluring
"Mighty Squirrel is most recognizable for the absolutely alluring voice of female lead singer Caridwen Irvine-Spatz. She has a voice which is reminiscent of fine Celtic female singers such as Lorena McKennitt, and shows that Celtic and folk music are really two sides of a single coin, basically separated by an ocean but with similar roots.... As a band Mighty Squirrel does a nice job of offering up variety on the CD thanks to fine musicianship on cuts such as Gas Nigun, and the Squirrel Hunters. The group, which includes Irvine-Spatz on fiddle, Greg Spatz on mandolin, along with David Keenan and Ivan Rosenberg can PLAY." Calvin Daniels, Yorktown This Week

Spokane Sidekick

Immigrant Music
"...A blend of acoustic folk, roots, and bluegrass, the band is reminiscent of Nickle Creek mixed with a little Alison Krauss. Playfully, the band calls itself 'immigrant music' but in reality the music is much more accessible than that...the songs are playfully fun yet still technically beauitful." A. W. Rowse, Spokane Sidekick

Audiophile Audition

An engaging and elegant sampling of acoustic world music.
It’s only natural for musicians and artists of any variety to be drawn to and draw from a number of sources. After all, there are a lot of different kinds of music out in the world, all equally wonderful. Why limit yourself to just one or two varieties, when you can sample from a worldwide feast? As an eclectic sort of listener myself (there’s not much that I won’t listen to), I can appreciate this in other people. And that’s what I love about this self-titled CD from the acoustic group Mighty Squirrel. There’s more than enough variety to hold my interest, and every song is connected to each other by performance, instrumentation, and passion. And really, it’s the passion that shines through in each song.

The songs and musical influences come from all over the globe—old time, classic country, folk, swing, gypsy jazz, Yiddish, Celtic, and French Canadian. And through it all can be heard a subtle seasoning of Bluegrass, which mostly comes from the traditional Bluegrass instrumentation of guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. A fair description of the CD might be acoustic world music, though Mighty Squirrel describes itself as “old time music from around the world,” or “World Time” music. Anyway, you get the drift.

This diverse music is held together by the enjoyable and first class performances of the accomplished musicians that make up Mighty Squirrel. Greg Spatz, who’s also the fiddler for the topnotch Bluegrass group John Reischman and the Jaybirds, takes a turn on the octave mandolin and also contributes some fiddle on a few tunes. His playing is facile, sensitive, and spot on, as always. David Keenan, formerly of Ranch Romance (one of my favorite Northwest bands), is the Jack-of-all-trades here, playing a variety of instruments including resophonic guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, as well as contributing harmony and lead vocals. His lead vocal work on the mournful and regret-filled “We Will Have Our Day” is devastating in its simplicity and honesty, providing a textbook example of “less is more.” Ivan Rosenberg, a veteran bluegrass musician, is most noted here for his perfectly rendered banjo work, restrained and beautifully lyrical.At the center of the group is Caridwen Irvine Spatz, doing the lion’s share of the lead vocals and fiddling. Her voice seems made for Celtic music, lyrical and ethereal, but she can also sing with an unexpected strength and a sly sense of humor. Her voice is expressive, flexible, and utterly charming.

All in all, this is an outstanding debut recording from a new group and a completely fun listen. I look forward to further efforts from them.