A native of the Ottawa Valley, April Verch’s name has been so prominent within the roots music community for the past decade and a half that it seems impossible that she is only in her early 30s. A veteran of the road, Verch’s eighth album is of the quality that causes the phrase tour de force to come to mind.
Having flirted with various music styles over the years, and mastering them all, on That’s How We Run Verch deeply delves into old-time Appalachian traditions. With her roots in the foot-stompin’ traditions of community dances, Verch brings the vitality of live performance to this recording.
Comprised of a succession of ascending notes, the title track is a plaintive cry for understanding within a fracturing relationship. Traditional numbers comprise a goodly chunk of the album with Kasey Chambers’ “This Flower” providing a contemporary interlude. One of the album’s most memorable pieces, “This Flower” is dually highlighted by Verch’s honest vocal interpretation and Clay Ross’s guitar.
As well, Verch contributes half a dozen originals. Any concern over one fiddle tune blending with those before it are put asunder early. While there is certainly no shortage of instrumentals included, each is lent distinction by featuring a variety of instrumental lineups, tempos, and styles. Especially impressive are Cody Walters’ clawhammer parts, prominent on the album’s first three tracks and –in large measure- establishing the album’s tone.
Riley Baugus provides a masculine interlude on “Lazy John” while Verch takes several leads. Band members Ross and Walters share lead turns with Verch on the campfire-y “Moonshine Mac.” Verch has a sweet voice, not as emotive say as Alison Krauss but more chipper and certainly enjoyable.
Verch successfully mixes in a mainstream (circa 1955) old-time country vibe with renditions of “I’m Waiting to Hear You Call Me Darlin’” (a bluegrass standard from the Flatt & Scruggs repertoire) and “Still Trying,” an original song that should have been recorded by Kitty Wells.
Verch and her touring band- Walters and Ross- provide the instrumental core augmented by the likes of Baugus, Bob Carlin, Chris Sharp, and Dirk Powell here and there.
Generously timed at almost 57 minutes, That’s How We Run is much more than a fiddler’s latest project. It is one of the most impressive roots music albums I’ve heard this year.
As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald