Stephen Cooke, The Halifax Herald
February 25, 2010
I’ve been lucky enough to catch Cape Breton fiddler Colin Grant on stage a couple of times during trips across the causeway, including the CD release bash for his self-titled debut at Celtic Colours in 2006, and discovered he’s everything you could hope for from a Celtic musician: energetic, adventurous, serious in his study of music but always eager to have a good time on stage and in the studio.
Those traits carry over to Grant’s new CD, titled Fun for the Whole Family, which he launches this week with a series of shows around the province, starting tonight at Governor’s Pub in Sydney with guest Carlton Stone Drives the Big Wheel, with two shows at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Colin Grant and his band will perform this weekend in Sydney, Church Point and Halifax. Band members include Donnie Calabrese (bass), Colin Clarke (drums), Jason Roach (piano), Grant (fiddle), and Darren McMullen (guitar, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki).
On Friday, Grant returns to Universite Sainte-Anne in Church Point, where he’s been a student and a teacher, to perform at Theatre Marc-Lescarbot at 7:30 p.m. with guests Nathalie Saulnier and Allie Mombourquette.
Then on Saturday, Grant is in Halifax for an afternoon ceilidh at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub on Argyle Street from 2 to 6 p.m. The shows feature a crackerjack band made up of bassist Donnie Calabrese, drummer Colin Clarke, pianist Jason Roach and multi-instrumentalist Darren McMullen, a cohort of J.P. Cormier’s, recently seen around the province with the duo of Gillian Boucher and Andrea Wittgens.
Grant’s something of a musical sponge, soaking up the Scottish and Acadian fiddle styles of Nova Scotia, and even a wee bit of the Irish, and can go from a stone trad set like Donald Angus Jigs to a contemporary track like Beoga’s Surprise without batting an eye. It shouldn’t be a surprise he started studying Cape Breton fiddle with Sandy MacIntyre in Toronto at the age of 10, and continued with Allie Bennett when his family moved to Cape Breton in 1998. As a result, his music brims with confidence, but also reverence, as Fun for the Whole Family includes tributes to the late fiddle titan Jerry Holland, the Beatons of Mabou, and of course his respected teacher MacIntyre.
This weekend’s shows will also include new tunes that Grant and his band plan to record later in the spring, taking advantage of the extra musicians to explore a fusion of Celtic and progressive sounds. Definitely worth a sneak preview.