Troy MacGillivray & Shane Cook
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Troy MacGillivray & Shane Cook

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band Folk Celtic


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"Celtic meets old-time flair; Antigonish's MacGillivray collaborates with Ottawa's Cook"

Friday September 26, 2008 - ANTIGONISH'S Troy MacGillivray is a peerless Celtic musician, as proficient on fiddle as he is on piano, but he's also a gifted collaborator.

Whether it's with fellow Nova Scotian players (including sisters Kendra and Sabra), Scottish musicians like guitarist Anna Massey and flutist Nuala Kennedy, or even a one-off ECMA performance with jazz musicians like bassist Adam Fine and sax player Dani Oore, MacGillivray likes to spread his talent around.

"I hope that's OK," he says with a self-effacing laugh. "I've never really thought about it, as in "Who will I work with this time?' Anything I do just sort of happens.

"I get an idea, and usually it involves the people I'm hanging out with at the time, and usually it works out nicely. At least I hope it does."

MacGillivray's latest project is When Here Meets There, a collaboration with Ottawa fiddle champion Shane Cook, who has several titles under his belt, including being the only Canadian to win the U.S. Grand National Fiddle Championship.

The two had often crossed paths, at Jerry Holland's fiddle camp and on the road in Ontario, and eventually a friendship and appreciation for each other's gifts developed.

"We'd be playing in the same concert with some other acts, and at some point we'd do a couple of songs together, and that led to doing our own shows together, and that's where we got the idea to do a record together," explains MacGillivray.

This week a Maritime tour featuring the pair plus guitarist Skip Holmes and Ray Legere on mandolin - who also perform on the CD - kicks off today at Mabou's Strathspey Place at 7:30 p.m., with guest pianist Betty Lou Beaton. That's followed by a Sunday matinee at Sackville, N.B.'s Music Barn at 2 p.m.

The road trip continues on Wednesday at the Courthouse Theatre in Sherbrooke at 7:30 p.m. and the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The dates wrap up with shows at the deCoste Centre in Pictou on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. and the Bicentennial Theatre in Middle Musquodoboit on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

What's remarkable about When Here Meets There, as implied by the title, is the way it combines MacGillivray's Celtic playing with Cook's old-time sound, with the two players weaving in and out of stylistic sync as they play solo and unison parts. There's definitely a unique harmony taking place on the album, bridging what MacGillivray sees as a split between the Celtic and old-time traditions.

"I guess there's a divide there, I don't know why that would be," he muses. "I just like good music; if it sounds good to me then I'll probably want to try and play it.

"And it's not even a geographical divide. Even in our own province the Scottish musicians don't really know the old-time players and vice versa. They could be in the same community and not even know each other. Ottawa is a good example; you have Maxville, which is really Scottish, on one side, and then on the other side of town you have the old-time scene, and they have no idea about each other, even though they're only a half-hour or 45 minutes apart. It's odd"

What caught MacGillivray's ear about Cook's playing was his remarkable ability to absorb styles, mimic them and then perfect them.

"Shane definitely comes from the old-time school, and he does a great job of it, but he grew up with a lot of Irish music too, so he's no stranger to Celtic styles.

"And being from Antigonish, I play the strathspeys and reels, but I've also picked up polkas and hornpipes which a lot of Celtic fiddlers wouldn't necessarily play. So we're both kind of stuck in the middle of a few different styles. It worked out kinda nice when it came to this project."

- Stephen Cooke, Halifax Herald

"Dynamic Performance"

Shane Cook of Dorchester, Ontario and Troy MacGillivray, of Antigonish, Nova Scotia have just completed their new CD and they played one of their promotional concerts right here in Tillsonburg. The concert, which was a sellout, was also a fundraiser for Victorian Order of Nurses Oxford’s Sakura House hospice. Cook is one of Canada’s most highly awarded old-time fiddlers, a 3-time Canadian Open Fiddle champion, 3-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, Grand North American Fiddle Champion and the only Canadian to win the US Grand National Fiddle Championship. Troy MacGillivray, is an accomplished fiddler, pianist and step dancer and most recently won the 2008 East Coast Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

- Tillsonburg - April 7, 2008

"Review - Goderich Celtic Roots Festival"

Roots music at it's finest. East Coast meets Ontario in a musical collision that explodes into a torrent of blazing, cascading sets of tunes. Whether on twin fiddles or fiddle and piano, Shane & Troy are irrisistibly infectious. At our festival, even the sound men were tapping their toes. Backed by an A class band, Canada's finest young musicians offer a wonderful palatte from ripping reels and jaunty jigs to the plaintive piano solo Bovaglie's Plaid. Their humour and exhuberance filled our audience with joie de vivre. By any scale they were outstanding as performers and human beings. - Warren Robinson, Artistic Director

"Concert Review"

Canada's music is studded with stellar performances, but Troy MacGillivray and Shane Cook still manage to manage to make it scale new heights. On stage they are at once moving, expressive and true to the heart of their great traditions. In addition their music is entirely accessible, great fun - and boy, do these guys rock! - Brian McNeill, former Head of Scottish Music, RSAMD

"East Coast’s best of jigs, jazz, rock: Local artsits produce bumper-crop of music in 2008"

January 2, 2009 - Despite whatever perils the music industry might be facing, they haven’t stopped East Coast musicians from continuing to create recordings that delight, astonish and move us.

But trying to assemble a year-end list of favourite CDs from this region feels like an even more substantial task in 2008 than in years past, and as I gaze at a pair of two-foot high stacks of releases in every conceivable style, the best approach appears to be micromanaging and breaking things down into genres, awards show style. The best part is, there won’t be any lame monologues, rambling acceptance speeches or commercial breaks; just my completely biased opinion.

Favourite traditional recording of 2008

Another tough call, and this time I’m stuck between South Shore siblings Drumlin and their reinterpretation of songs from the Helen Creighton collection on Mackerel Skies and Lanark virtuoso Troy MacGillivray, who joined forces with Ontario old-time fiddle champ Shane Cook on When Here Meets There (Trolley).

Ultimately I have to go with the MacGillivray/Cook combination. Just when I think I’ve heard every possible variation on the Celtic fiddle sound, along come two world-class musicians from two similar, but disparate styles to challenge each other and raise the bar even higher.
- Stephen Cooke, Entertainment Reporter - Halifax Herald


When Here Meets There
Artist: Troy MacGillivray & Shane Cook   
Running time: 76:28
Release Date: April 2008

1. The New Tunemakers
2.  Winston
3. Ward Allen’s Two-Step
4.  The Glasgow Session
5. La Belle Époque
6. Being Jerry Holland
7. Bovaglie’s Plaid
8. Ti-Jean Carignan’s
9. For Nuala
10. The Talisker High Bass Set
11. Piano Jigs
12. Neuketyneuks
13. Foolin’ Around
14. Not For Radio Set
15. The Reprobate

Produced by Troy MacGillivray & Shane Cook
Engineered and edited by Ray Legere
Mixed and Mastered by Chad Irschick, Inception Sound Studios, Toronto, Ontario



WINNER - 2009 East Coast Music Awards Roots / Traditional Group Recording of the Year

** Nominated for 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards (Traditional Album of the Year / Instrumental Group of the Year) **

** Voted Favourite Traditional Recording of the Year in 2008 by the Halifax Herald **

"Just when I think Ive heard every possible variation on the Celtic fiddle sound, along come two world-class musicians from two similar, but disparate styles to challenge each other and raise the bar even higher." (Stephen Cooke, Halifax Herald)

When Here Meets There is an exciting new collaboration between two young Canadian fiddlers at the top of their game. Shane Cook of Dorchester, Ontario is one of Canadas most highly awarded old-time fiddlers: 3-time Canadian Open Fiddle champion, 3-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, Grand North American Fiddle Champion, and the only Canadian to win the US Grand National Fiddle Championship. Troy MacGillivray of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, is an accomplished fiddler, pianist and step dancer; he most recently won the 2008 East Coast Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. The album provides an astonishing breadth of styles, tunes, and arrangements. While each fiddler has several opportunities to shine on solo sets that emphasize his particular strengths, my favourite sets on the album are those that Shane and Troy play together. Theres an obvious excitement and spark between the two players and their ensemble that is infectious. Their combined lift and rhythmic drive propel the music forward.

While each fiddler brings to the album a flavour of his own, the contrast between their playing is nothing but complementary. A popular tune on the album is Archie Menzies. After playing the tune through in unison, well-matched in style, tone, variations, and ornaments, and yet not erasing the unique sound of either, each fiddler plays the tune through by himself, each version excellent, and each version very different. There can be no mistake that Troy, gritty and strongly rhythmic, plays the tune through first and Shane, slightly smoother, with unique melodic variations, plays second. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear how two of the top players in their respective traditions shape the tune to make it their own. Shane has a considerable reputation amongst fiddlers for his individual, unique style that is not always predictable, but almost always recognizable for its daring, yet ever tasteful, melodic and rhythmic adventures. Troy demonstrates a similar inclination to flirt with stylistic boundaries, most notably in a number of original tunes included on the album. Some will challenge the listener; all will please.

Although the tunes are obviously very carefully arranged, they still manage to sound fresh and inspired, with a spark and energy that is easiest to capture before they have been endlessly rehearsed. Several of the transitions between tunes, in particular, are quite unusual and grab the listeners attention. The play with textures, both between the two fiddlers and with the ensemble, is also especially effective. Techniques such as soloing, doubling of the melody by back-up musicians, harmonizing both whole tunes and short phrases here and there, and playing in different octaves all serve to highlight the talents of the individual musicians, as well as create an remarkable listening experience.

In short, this album provides something for everyone for those who like the old standards and those who like the cutting edge. For those who are familiar with the playing of Shane Cook and Troy MacGillivray as individuals, their collaboration will surprise and delight. When Here Meets There, when Ontario meets Nova Scotia, when Canadian old-time, Antigonish Co. , Cape Breton, French-Canadian, Orkney, Texas and other styles and tunes from a variety of traditions meet on this album, the result is truly magical.

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