Canadian Music Week 2005 at various venues, Thursday through Saturday (March 3-5). See club listings for complete showcase information. Individual shows free-$26.50, wristbands $30, available through Ticketmaster (416-870-8000, www.ticketmaster.ca). Note: some shows have limited wristband access. Check www.cmw.net for further conference event information, details and updates. Rating: NNN
It's great to be a virtuoso fiddler who's won big-time awards and earned some respect. But being a champion fiddler doesn't mean you can write good songs. Thankfully, April Verch is multi-talented, and her latest showcases her knack for writing tight, melodic little country/roots ditties that'll have you convinced she's from Nashville and not the Ottawa Valley. This may partly be due to the excellent production by Dirk Powell (the Cold Mountain soundtrack), but it's more likely that Verch worked her ass off to come up with 14 tracks that stand up as well on their own as they fit within the construct of a complete album. And that's just what Take Me Back is - a fully realized set that does not retreat into a fiddle fest the moment things get tough. If anything, there's not enough fiddling. It says a lot when the thing you remember about a master fiddler is her engaging voice.
Verch hits the Gladstone tonight (Thursday, March 2) as part of CMW.