Renowned Irish fiddler Kevin Burke has teamed up with American guitarist Cal Scott for an exciting new collaboration in traditional music. Their debut CD Across the Black River was the premier release on Kevin’s new label Loftus Music, and was named a “top notable world music release” by The New York Times.
Across the Black River dips into both Burke’s and Scott’s backgrounds, with Irish jigs and reels, Scottish airs and bluegrass tunes along with fresh compositions. The title comes from one of Kevin’s compositions, named for a river in County Sligo where his Mother grew up (also recorded by Lúnasa on their album Sé.) There is a French-musette styled waltz written by Cal; a soulful version of Bill Monroe’s “Evening Prayer Blues,” with Kevin’s fiddle multi-tracked and Cal’s sparkling mandolin; and a lovely air written by Scotland’s Phil Cunningham in remembrance of his brother, the late fiddler Johnny.
The two men first met in Portland while working on a documentary about Northern Ireland. Cal was commissioned to compose the score and he engaged Kevin as a consultant on the project. “We enjoyed working together so much,” says Kevin, “that when the score was done we continued to spend time together, playing, recording and exchanging musical ideas.”