CFMA WINNING MANDO-MAESTRO ANDREW COLLINS TRIO TO PLAY HUGH’S ROOM OCT 21
Andrew Collins is a part of the firmament. He’s the mercurial, 5x JUNO-nominated/6x CFMA winning mando-maestro behind two of Canada’s top-billed string bands – The Foggy Hogtown Boys and the Creaking Tree String Quartet. He’s an adventurous musical explorer melding new worlds together in his voracious quest for musical fulfillment, landing somewhere between the re-imagined worlds of Béla Fleck and Newgrass invader, David Grisman.
Together with fellow members of the Andrew Collins Trio (ACT) – string guru Mike Mezzatesta and in-the-pocket bassist James McEleney – good times are sure to be had when they serve up their sophomore release And It Was Good. at music hotspot Hugh’s Room on Fri Oct 21, 8:30pm ($22.50adv/$25, doors 7pm, 2261 Dundas W, www.hughsroom.com , 416-531-6604)
And It Was Good boldly showcases ACT’s popular collision of genres – merging classical with bluegrass, folk with jazz, swing with Celtic – it also kicks off the first time the spirited Trio has crafted a thematic concept album.
Secularly inspired by the 7 days of Creation, ACT has brilliantly rendered each day’s creation story to musical fruition in this new, Chamber Grass disc. Long admired for his collaborative strengths and his compositional abilities, the idea behind this project came to Collins, ironically enough, 7 years prior. Yet, like all good creation stories, it couldn’t come together until ‘the planets had properly aligned. Inspired in part by the late, great Oliver Schroer’s Camino project – which presented church-recorded material to a newly-invigorated audience – Collins hungered for a fresh way to showcase his wildly spontaneous ways on a traditional subject matter, redefining both in the process, Indeed, the material has less to do with religion and more to do with quenching a spiritual thirst for lush-sounding, universally resonant compositions that bring new meaning to an age-old story.
The Trio’s instrumentation (mandolin, mandocello, fiddle, guitar, bass, mandola) is augmented by a string quartet to add necessary shading and colour to each track, all carefully composed by Collins. Opening with “Light from the Darkness”, the use of mandolins, bass and strings transforms the concept of nothingness into the semblance of light appearing through two distinct movements that build in intensity as the world awakens. “Firmaments” serves to define the separation of the heavens, with each member of the Trio deftly playing a pair of instruments apiece to keep this ball rolling, atop a repeated melodic theme. Contrast this with “Fish & Fowl” – an all-string assault in two parts, alternating dark to light and juxtaposing minor and major scales to represent the difference between the murky depths of the sea and the freedom of flight. The final song – the title track – breaks into what can only be called a gleeful, up-tempo celebration of life itself. The mandolin-driven piece draws heavily upon bluegrass with its bursts of fiddle, backdrop of acoustic guitar while the bass holds down the bottom. Everyone is clearly having a Good time in “And It Was Good”, now that the hard work is done!
The Andrew Collins Trio– admired for their absolute virtuosity – have been somewhat reborn through their own thoughtful re-creation of a story that brings a certain reverence to the party – and a distinctly unique approach to ensemble playing that represents a Second Coming of …shall we say 🙂 ….biblical proportions.