Liz Carroll and Jake Charron
A native of Chicago’s South Side, internationally acclaimed fiddler and composer Liz Carroll is one of Irish music’s brightest stars. Her talent and dedication to her craft have earned her a National Heritage Fellowship; a Grammy nomination; and the Gradam Ceoil TG4 Composer of the Year award, honouring her contributions to the repertoire of Irish music. Liz has toured as a solo artist and with the Greenfields of America, Trian, as the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle, String Sisters, and now as a duo with guitarist and pianist Jake Charron.
From Barrie, Ontario, piano and guitar player Jake Charron has established himself as a world-class accompanist for Celtic music. His contemporary Canadian-Celtic trio, the East Pointers, won the JUNO Award for Traditional Roots Album of the Year in 2017. He was also nominated for a Canadian Folk Music award for his duo album with Shane Cook called Head to Head, and with Nova Scotia’s Troy MacGillivray, earned an East Coast Music Award for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year for the album, When Here Meets There.
Half Day Road
three words that smack of a musical adventure
The lively staccato of the title Half Day Road verbally parallels the energy and drive that Liz Carroll and Jake Charron bring musically to their first full-length collaborative album. Rooted firmly in the Irish traditional style, composed and interpreted by two uniquely North American artists, Half Day Road is more than just superb tunes and top-notch musicianship; it’s an exercise in how to progress along the continuum of Irish musical tradition, and how to work as contemporary artists within a traditional form. The blast of new music contained within the album rises to meet this challenge, creatively carrying Irish trad music to new destinations.
Carroll and Charron open the album with verve and vigor, tearing into the title track at a brazen clip. Shifting gears through the different tracks, the album winds its way with finesse through melodies that range from bright to lush to bittersweet. Beneath Charron’s rhythmic foundation of guitar and piano lies a shimmering bedrock of sound that grounds the album and allows Carroll’s fiddle notes to soar.
The album is comprised entirely of original compositions. Charron contributes a sweetly poignant solo piano track. In the remaining tracks, Carroll showcases her virtuosity and range as a composer. Using Irish reels, airs, and jigs as the bones of her compositions, she finds in their framework a source of infinite variation.
The album also welcomes fellow musical travelers Chico Huff (bass), Joanie Madden (tin whistle), and John Anthony (percussion).
Half Day Road speaks to the enduring power of Irish traditional music — in composition, in play, and moving forward.