Mighty Squirrel
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Mighty Squirrel

Spokane, Washington, United States | SELF

Spokane, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Folk World

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Aug
11
Mighty Squirrel @ Private Show

Nelson, British Columbia, Canada

Nelson, British Columbia, Canada

Nov
16
Mighty Squirrel @ Nancy's Farm

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Bellingham, Washington, USA

Nov
15
Mighty Squirrel @ Crossroads Music Series

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
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Music

Press


It’s only natural for musicians and artists of any variety to be drawn to and draw from a number of sources. After all, there are a lot of different kinds of music out in the world, all equally wonderful. Why limit yourself to just one or two varieties, when you can sample from a worldwide feast? As an eclectic sort of listener myself (there’s not much that I won’t listen to), I can appreciate this in other people. And that’s what I love about this self-titled CD from the acoustic group Mighty Squirrel. There’s more than enough variety to hold my interest, and every song is connected to each other by performance, instrumentation, and passion. And really, it’s the passion that shines through in each song.
The songs and musical influences come from all over the globe—old time, classic country, folk, swing, gypsy jazz, Yiddish, Celtic, and French Canadian. And through it all can be heard a subtle seasoning of Bluegrass, which mostly comes from the traditional Bluegrass instrumentation of guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. A fair description of the CD might be acoustic world music, though Mighty Squirrel describes itself as “old time music from around the world,” or “World Time” music. Anyway, you get the drift.
This diverse music is held together by the enjoyable and first class performances of the accomplished musicians that make up Mighty Squirrel. Greg Spatz, who’s also the fiddler for the topnotch Bluegrass group John Reischman and the Jaybirds, takes a turn on the octave mandolin (it’s pitched an octave below the standard mandolin) and also contributes some fiddle on a few tunes. His playing is facile, sensitive, and spot on, as always. David Keenan, formerly of Ranch Romance (one of my favorite Northwest bands), is the Jack-of-all-trades here, playing a variety of instruments including resophonic guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, as well as contributing harmony and lead vocals. His lead vocal work on the mournful and regret-filled “We Will Have Our Day” is devastating in its simplicity and honesty, providing a textbook example of “less is more.” Ivan Rosenberg, a veteran bluegrass musician, is most noted here for his perfectly rendered banjo work, restrained and beautifully lyrical.At the center of the group is Caridwen Irvine Spatz, doing the lion’s share of the lead vocals and fiddling. Her voice seems made for Celtic music, lyrical and ethereal, but she can also sing with an unexpected strength and a sly sense of humor. Her voice is expressive, flexible, and utterly charming.
All in all, this is an outstanding debut recording from a new group and a completely fun listen. I look forward to further efforts from them.
- Audiophile Audition


“A debut CD of traditional music by a lineup of superb musicians that offers something unique... The music is a mix of traditional Appalachian, Yiddish, Celtic, and French-Canadian songs and instrumentals... It all works wonderfully well together. Caridwen is a phenomenal lead vocalist and the musicianship is outstanding. For those of you who enjoy traditional music as well as bluegrass, treat yourself to this great initial outing from Mighty Squirrel.” — Kate Bailey, Bluegrass Beacon - Bluegrass Beacon


”Gorgeous material—timeless, otherworldly and uplifting. The fiddle playing is just spellbinding. However, the thing that really knocked me out is the bouzouki playing. Just a phenomenal example of what can be done with the instrument. Truly a one-of-a-kind disc.” – Dave Higgs, Nashville Public Radio

- Nashville Public Radio


Greg Spatz,
Fiddler's Dream
(SeaSqwrl, 2007)

Gregory Spatz is a writer of literary fiction: two novels, one titled Fiddler's Dream, and a short-story collection. His fiction credits include no less than The New Yorker, to which virtually all serious writers aspire.

And then there is fiddler Greg Spatz, the same absurdly gifted guy, who plays Celtic music, bluegrass, Appalachian folk and swing with aplomb. Fiddler's Dream -- the recording, not the novel -- brings together material from three groups of which he's a member. Though the styles are various, the sound is cohesive and uniformly enjoyable.

Most of the album is devoted to traditional songs and fiddle tunes, with a couple of Spatz originals and a song written and sung in French by his wife Caridwen Spatz, also a fiddler. The smartly chosen material documents Spatz's deep knowledge of folk music. Only the Anglo-Celtic "Lady Franklin's Dream" (a.k.a. "Lord Franklin") and the Appalachian "Little Rabbit" are immediately recognizable, and even they are done in distinctive arrangements that give them a glow of freshness.

Spatz performs variously in a duo with his wife, in a bluegrass band with John Reischman & the Jaybirds, and in the world-folk ensemble Mighty Squirrel. Fiddler's Dream is exactly what a traditional recording ought to be in the early 21st century, a thing both of its time and of the times that created these styles and traditions in the first place. It's all accomplished with skill, taste and heart. - rambles.net


“A blend of acoustic folk, roots, and bluegrass, the band is reminiscent of Nickle Creek mixed with a little Alison Krauss. Playfully, the band calls itself ‘immigrant music’ but in reality the music is much more accessible than that...the songs are playfully fun yet still technically beautiful.” – A. W. Rowse, Spokane Sidekick - Spokane Sidekick


“Mighty Squirrel is most recognizable for the absolutely alluring voice of female lead singer Caridwen Irvine-Spatz. She has a voice which is reminiscent of fine Celtic female singers such as Lorena McKennitt, and shows that Celtic and folk music are really two sides of a single coin.... As a band Mighty Squirrel does a nice job of offering up variety on the CD thanks to fine musicianship on cuts such as Gas Nigun, and the Squirrel Hunters. The group, which includes Irvine-Spatz on fiddle, Greg Spatz on mandolin, along with David Keenan and Ivan Rosenberg can PLAY.” – Calvin Daniels, Yorktown This Week - Yorktown This Week


“Greg Spatz has titled this CD ‘Fiddler’s Dream,’ but he could just as accurately have christened it ‘Listener’s Dream.’ This northwest fiddle player has created an album that is oh-so pleasant to listen to—diverse, dreamy, dynamic, and utterly delightful. The four vocal tracks are sung by Spatz’s wife, Caridwen, whose absolutely gorgeous and ethereal voice is perfect for the Celtic flavors that are intermingled with the twin-fiddle and hot-picking tunes. This is a joyful album full of strength and gentleness.” —Bluegrass Unlimited - Bluegrass Unlimited


“Mighty Squirrel mates David Keenan, Ivan Rosenberg, and Caridwen Irvine-Spatz mix it up on the old-time Old Sport and Caridwen’s Valse Des Fourmis. Spatz’s duets with his wife comprise a pair of twin fiddle tunes and a pair of Celtic numbers that feature her beautiful vocals backed by his elegant bouzouki. Simply put, ‘Fiddler’s Dream’ is a dream come true!” – Bluegrass Now - Bluegrass Now


Discography

Mighty Squirrel/ Sqworld Record
Mighty Squirrel/ Mighty Squirrel
Greg Spatz/Fiddler's Dream

Photos

Bio

Mighty Squirrel is a Washington State-based acoustic quartet that draws on musical traditions such as Appalachian old time, classic country, Yiddish, Celtic, French-Canadian, Ladino-Sephardic, and more—creating a unique world music stringband sound.

With their second CD, Sqworld Record, the band offers a dazzling array of songs from around the world, as well as several heartfelt band originals. As Jon Weisberger, producer of satellite radio's "Hand Picked with Del McCoury," describes it: Music that's sometimes earthy, sometimes mysterious, sometimes funky, sometimes ethereal -- and sometimes all of those and more at once. I'm digging the way Sqworld Record's sonic map is enlarged in all the right places but still centered right where it needs to be. That's Mighty Squirrel, and to my ear, it's mighty fine.

In the band are Caridwen Irvine Spatz (vocals, fiddle), Greg Spatz (octave mandolin, fiddle), David Keenan (National guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, vocals), and Nova Karina Devonie (accordion, vocals).

Greg and David are familiar fixtures on the folk/bluegrass scene. Greg is best known as the fiddler for the bluegrass band John Reischman and the Jaybirds. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Fiddler's Dream. David is known for his recent work with Jo Miller & Her Burly Roughnecks as well as Miles & Karina, and he has appeared on Prairie Home Companion several times with the band Ranch Romance. Nova Karina Devonie is the ‘High-Style Queen of Accordion’ known far and wide for her quirkish sensibilities and melodic tastiness. She currently graces the stage with several musical groups in a variety of styles including Jo Miller and Her Burly Roughnecks, Miles and Karina, the contra-dance ensemble Zolo, and many others. Nova is also an alumnus of Cowgirl Supergroup Ranch Romance.

But Caridwen's pure, haunting voice is the showpiece of Mighty Squirrel. She sings in English, French, Yiddish, and Ladino-Sephardic (so far), and she is also a sparkling fiddler in Celtic, old time, Klezmer, and many other styles.

Mighty Squirrel presents a friendly, engaging, high-energy show that appeals to a wide range of music fans, introducing them to international musical traditions along the way.

The band has been a featured band at the Vancouver Island Music Festival, the North Fork Roots and Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, and the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop among others, and they've been steadily building a fan base over the past 4 years performing for folk music societies throughout the northwest.

Mighty Squirrel is booking festivals, concerts, and workshops for this year. To find out more about the band, please visit Mighty Squirrel on the web, or you're always welcome to contact Caridwen for promo CDs, press kits, or any questions you may have.