CD-261 Victor Furtado
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When I first received a copy of this production, it wasn't long before I had my mandolin out, playing along and trying to learn Furtado's original "The Ghost on Hippie Hill," a melodic romp in D minor (inspired by the famous camping section of my hometown Mt. Airy Fiddlers’ Convention) that also sounds like it could just as easily be a Monroe-style mandolin piece as an old time banjo tune. Then it dawned on me--there is scant higher praise that one can give an album from a new artist, than that it inspires you to get out your own instrument and start playing. But there are few musicians more inspiring than Victor Furtado.
We are blessed in our world of traditional music with a burgeoning community of young musicians that increases in numbers, talent and proficiency with each passing year. However, rarely do you find an artist at the age of fifteen who has already marched out with his own singular style. If you've heard Victor Furtado play banjo, you never have to wonder who it is when you hear it again. Hailing from the town of Front Royal, Virginia, Victor was born into a large musical family, inspired by older sisters and banjoists Gina and Theresa, he picked up the banjo at age six and never looked back. Influenced by the multi-instrumental Furtado siblings, as well as luminaries Adam Hurt and Chris Coole, Victor began developing an artistry that, as you can hear, serves him as well on hardcore old time frailing ("Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss," "Chilly Winds," "Hangman's Reel," "John Brown's Dream"), as on his more melodic musings ("Quince Dillon in High B," "Gypsy," "Dark Rider," "Durang's Hornpipe"). The result is a well-balanced mission statement from a bright new artist who has one foot planted solidly in the tradition and the other in his own imagination.
Furtado is supported by a perfect storm of musicians for this undertaking, three creative performers who possess in great measure the knowledge of the tradition, the adventurousness of spirit and the dexterity required for such a project: fiddler / producer Nate Leath, guitarist Danny Knicely and bassist Mark Schatz. Listening to these four musicians play together is one of the special joys of life. And at the center of it all is Victor Furtado; an astonishing talent, adding new layers to what the banjo is and can become.
-Joseph L. Scott