May 2005

Quagmyre Of Cabbages and King
May 12, 2005 • The Rivoli • Toronto
You can hear the drumming heels of the step dancers as part of the rich background to the fiddling on this debut CD by Quagmyre, but you need to see them live, catch them in the wild, to get the full beauty of it. The dancers are Cara Butler, Nathan Pilatzke, and the featured fiddler himself, Jon Pilatzke, surely a star in the making.
You can see the excitement Jon radiates in the photo to this report. But, if that’s not enough, I can tell you that master fiddler Lenny Solomon was at the release party and he said, “John is great”. Lenny and Jon travel together in another group called Bowfire that includes top-flight violinists like Stephane Allard and Lara St. John. But, back to Quagmyre.

The drummer is Jon McCann who also plays with Caution Jam. He keeps great time, never gets in front of the mix and does some really advanced hand drumming on the tune “Dinny O’Brian’s”. Jeff and Ryan McLarnon handle vocals, guitars, keyboards and more. Jef’s jaw harp adds nice texture to the background on “The Dionne Quintuplet Set”, and “Humours of Ballyloughlin”. His “Jig of Indecision” has nice solo guitar work and witty vocals.

Generally, Of Cabbages and Kings has, like the name suggests, a lot of things in it: instrumentals and vocals; a lot of variety in the styles of its songs from traditional Irish to folky bluegrass to Reggae, most fast, but some slow and dreamy. Jon Pilatzke’s fiddling is exciting, the band is tight, the arrangements have a lot of imagination and texture. Personally, I find that five minutes of fiddling on a basic melody takes me into the monotony zone, but if you are into dancing and feeling good about the beat, you would be fine. My favourite piece is a slow lament in waltz time entitled “Dark Island”.

We welcome your comments and feedback
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Report and Photograph by
• •
Stanley Fefferman
for The Live Music Report

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