Patuxent CD-149 Patrick McAvinue - Grave Run
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It's no surprise that Patrick McAvinue first got the urge to pick up a fiddle when he heard the deceptively simple, ever changeable classic, Boil Them Cabbage Down. Patrick, then seven, probably knew innately that it was fiddle he wanted to play, but his parents, with proper caution, steered him toward a rented violin and classical music lessons. After three years, and grounded in the basics, Patrick gravitated inevitably toward traditional music and bluegrass fiddler/teacher Amy Hopkins, who led him a further three years along his musical path. He received more valuable tutelage from Troy Engle, and then went to the well of recordings of contemporary and classic players: Stuart Duncan, Kenny Baker, Aubrey Haynie, Paul Warren, Benny Martin, Michael Cleveland, Chubby Wise, Bobby Hicks, Mark O'Connor, Rickie Simpkins, Jason Carter, Howdy Forrester, Dale Potter, and Jon Glik. Like many a young picker before him, Patrick was informed by the sounds he heard. But he also retained his own wide ranging style.
It is this broad range that underscores Patrick’s obvious talents on fiddle, his primary instrument, and also on mandolin, in this recording. You won't question his ability, from the first lick to the quality of the personnel who have joined him in this first recording project. Marshall Wilborn of The Lynn Morris Band, Dudley Connell of the Johnson Mountain Boys, Seldom Scene and Longview , four-time winner of the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award, Sammy Shelor and Chris Warner and Audie Blaylock, both veterans of Jimmie Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys all highlight his magnetism in performance as well as his skill in production. Patrick McAvinue has an idea of what he wants you to hear and he can make that happen.
He skips all across the traditional music map. Two traditional fiddle/banjo duets, New Five Cents and Tennessee Wagoner, honed to an emotional edge with the airtight back-up of Sammy Shelor, pay tribute to Patrick's feeling for old time tunes. His original Uncle Woody, encompassing the drive of swing while remaining between the lines of the bluegrass road, finds the ear such a pleasant gentility that if you haven't played it in a jam session yet, you probably soon will. In Uncle Woody Patrick enlists the deft guitar work of Patuxent recording artist Jordan Tice (CD-126 No Place Better), and the renowned musical articulation of the legendary Mike Auldridge on resophonic guitar. Another original piece is the haunting title track, Grave Run, which shows the wide range of musical influences spanning from Jarrell to Grisman and beyond that live in Patrick’s catalog. The fiddle/guitar duo of Jordan Tice 's Ode to a Vending Machine combined with Patrick’s original Barnum's Dance evokes the somber stillness of a mountain sunrise.
No surprise that behind it all is the driving bluegrass that draws this prodigious fiddler like a moth to a (blue) flame. Hard driving standards like Blackberry Blossom (in which he plays guitar, mandolin, bass as well as fiddle) and Back Up and Push, demonstrate where the most of his heart lies.
Patrick McAvinue has boldly chosen in this project to illustrate not only his virtuosity and his passion for being at the forefront of all the music he chooses to play, but also his capacity as a working musician. He can hold back and complement vocals selections like the traditional gospel From the Manger to the Cross and old country favorite Pick Me Up on Your Way Down tastefully and solidly, but the way Patrick holds back gets you ready for him to step up to the microphone for a soulful solo.
No surprise that Patrick is a prize-winning fiddler and a hard-working band member, most recently touring with Audie Blaylock's Redline. With Patrick's remarkable abilities -- to travel through a variety of musical cultures without losing his foothold, to originate and organize material that electrifies the listener, and to draw together an impressive pantheon of talent to carry out his conceptions -- it's hard to see any limits on what he'll do on down the road.