Jennifer's 2d Album
"As a caterpillar inches its way through life, it is faced with many challenges. It constantly learns the tools of survival and what it requires to live. As it enters its metamorphosis stage, it becomes isolated from the rest of the world, not knowing that a beautiful thing is about to take place. As the cocoon breaks open and it is exposed once again to the world, it spreads its new beautiful wings and takes flight on a new journey, experiencing life from a whole new level."
Wings consists of 13 tracks, including a wonderful song "Back to Your Shores" written and sung by Jennifer's friend Stephanie Hardy. Jennifer not only plays some outstanding fiddle on all the tracks, she wrote a dozen of the tunes, and uses her own step dancing to add some punch to the tunes.
Again the prettiest tune on the CD is the one written by Jennifer's sister "Karmie" (Karen Steele). It is a haunting slow air composed by for Karmie's three daughters.
Jennifer picks up the pace immediately from that into a remarkable set of a march, two strathspeys, and three reels on which she is joined on piano by Howie MacDonald, and this set really rocks. This is just a hint of the variety found on this album. The arrangements vary from my favorite - simple acoustic playing of Jennifer and Howie Macdonald to more complex layered sounds with acoustic & electric guitars and organs, to a very modern treatment of a traditional reel in "The Growl'. Jennifer is experimenting and giving you a wide variety of tunes and variations on Cape Breton style to choose from, all, or course, played with exceptional fiddling.
(tunes marked * are Jennifer's own compositions)
The CD was produced by Al Bennet. It was recorded and mixed at Lakewind Sound Studios, Point Aconi, Cape Breton.
"Fiddler spreads her wings with latest album"
Excerpts from an article in the Cape Breton Post by Laurel Munroe
"The Alder Point fiddler has obviously entered a new stage of her career with Wings, the follow-up to 1997's Dedication. Roland, 23, says the wing theme signifies professional and personal growth. "I've learned a lot over the last three years," she explains. "Dedication represented me so well at that point in time and it turned out exactly how I wanted it. Wings is a step up from that, with a new style - more interesting instrumentation and stepdancing - so it's based on that."
Wings was recorded at Lakewind Sound in Point Aconi over a 14-month period with producer Allie Bennett, who also produced Dedication, a project that was tracked and recorded in four days and mixed in two.
"We spent a lot more time doing pre-production this time and a lot more time on creativity, experimenting with different sounds," Roland says. "It was a lot of work but I enjoyed it." She reserves high praise for Bennett. "I've learned so much from him. We work really well together. Although it is my CD and I know what I want, he's on the same wavelength. My ideas and my creativity work well with his experience and his vision."
Roland, who plays the late Winston 'Scotty' Fitzgerald's fiddle, is backed by a stellar lineup of Cape Breton musicians, including Lakewind co-owners Fred Lavery and Gordie Sampson, Tracey Dares, Ryan MacNeil, Howie MacDonald, Ed Woodsworth, Shawn MacDonald, Matt Foulds, Brian Talbot, and her sister, Karen (Karmie) Steele.
The fiddler composed several of the tunes for the album herself."I really enjoy composing," she notes. "Sometimes I've written down tunes in five minutes on the back of a receipt in Tim Horton's."
Wings also features a number of traditional tunes, along with a few selections from well-known writers like Jerry Holland. There is also a vocal track, Back to Your Shores, by Roland's good friend, singer Stephanie Hardy. "We've been performing together for years, at school variety concerts and things like that," Roland says. "She has an amazing voice, very unique."
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Review by Kimberley @ The Canadian Celtic Music Website
"Come and listen to Jennifer take flight on "Wings"...you'll be glad you did! She can work all your emotions...from the smiles from the reels, strathspeys and jigs to the tears from the beautiful waltzes...the sign of a talented fiddler."
Updated: July 31, 2007.
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