Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Elizabeth Nicholson & Stringed Migration
Waterbug Records
8.5- out-of-10
Now I generally focus on Canadian bands, but there was no way to pass up the opportunity to give Fly Not Yet a listen since Elizabeth Nicholson & Stringed Migration are a band noted for their fine Celtic music, another genre that always catches my attention easily.The band, from Portland, OR, which is darned near in Canada, describes its music as “a lush synthesis of Celtic and international roots music with a twist of jazz.” Now if that isn't enough to be intriguing to a music fan, I'm not sure what would be. For me, as a fan of Celtic and of jazz, it was like honey and I was the bee.The question was, would the music live up to the expectation?The answer is a resounding yes. The music here has the undertones and base of traditional folk and Celtic, but you can clearly hear where Elizabeth Nicholson & Stringed Migration has added in twists of world music and jazz. Right from the opening cut; Lebanese Melody/The Unquiet Grave, which has, not surprisingly a Middle Eastern feel, this group takes listeners on a stunning musical adventure.The interesting thing is how easily Celtic music seems to absorb other influences and still coming out sounding right. For that reason, the music here always holds together as a package because there is Celtic at its heart.That said, almost every song throws a twist at the listener, from the Middle East on cut one, to great hand drum work on Paddy Fahey's/Cape Breton Reel.And, then there is the harp work of Nicholson, that adds such depth to much of the music. She is also the female vocalist here, and she has a sweet, lyrical voice that fits perfectly for the music offered here.Bob Soper is the male vocalist, along with a long list of instrument credits.In terms of instrumentation, this group offers whistles, bouzouki, fiddle, 6-string violectra, and a number of more traditional ones. The varied mix gives the music here a depth of sound and allows it to cross genres smoothly.Fly Not Yet may be a debut effort, but it has a maturity to the sound which tells you this band is well-seasoned. The quality is also such that it makes a music fan like myself drooling at the prospects of where they might take their music on future recordings. Any music fan should hop on board now with Fly Not Yet, and take the musical journey with Elizabeth Nicholson & Stringed Migration, to enjoy watching this fine band grow.Check them out at

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 15, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is nice that you speak of Celtic music, but will you speak about Alan Stivell, the father of modern Celtic music?