The East Pointers have made their first foray into the studio as a trio and emerged with a record that should be a serious contender for roots/traditional recording of the year when next year’s East Coast Music Awards roll around. Group members include, from left, Koady Chaisson, Tim Chaisson and Jake Charron.
Do you like instrumental recordings?
Do you like traditional music?
If you answered yes to both of these questions you should seriously consider picking up a copy of the eponymous debut EP from The East Pointers.
The East Pointers is a trio of accomplished players comprised of two Islanders highly regarded in traditional music circles: Tim Chaisson and his cousin, Koady Chaisson, and a good friend of theirs out of Ontario named Jake Charron.
All three share a love for the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland as well as the homegrown traditional music of Atlantic Canada, which draws its inspiration not just from the Irish and the Scots but from the Acadian culture.
The two Chaissons and Charron have been getting together to play whenever the opportunity presented itself, sometimes here on the Island, sometimes in Ontario, impressing audiences wherever they hung their respective hats.
There have been several videos posted on YouTube, including a wicked live session recorded at the Corran Ban Community Hall during the festival of Small Halls, but this EP represents their first formal foray into the studio as a unit.
To say that it serves as a good introduction to The East Pointers would be an understatement.
This is simply one hell of a set.
All three players are multi-instrumentalists, but for the purposes of The East Pointers Tim Chaisson is featured on fiddle, Koady Chaisson on banjo and Charron on guitar.
The talent is flat-out-knock-you-on-your-ass calibre, and the chemistry between these players is as good as it gets.
So fine and so instinctive is their playing that you’d swear they’d been playing together for 20 years.
That is particularly evident on tracks like Ryan and Maguire’s, a set featuring Kevin Chaisson’s Dot McKinnon’s Reel, Dessie Kelliher’s The Fall and Koady Chaisson’s own Ryan and Maguire’s Reel; and on my personal favourite, Ken the Hen, which brings together Jay Unger’s Popcorn Behaviour and Koady’s Ken the Hen Reel.
Much of the material on this EP is original, or at the very least in-house, in the sense that it was penned by a member of the Chaisson family, which has more branches than an oak tree, almost every one of them musical.
Koady Chaisson contributed five pieces to the recording, including The Wreck of The H.M.S. Phoenix - the only complete song on the record, the rest are medleys - which he co-wrote with Charron.
There are three original contributions from Kevin Chaisson, Tim’s father, one from Tim and one co-written by Tim’s brother, Brent, and piper Ellen MacPhee.
As stated at the beginning, this record is entirely instrumental, but the possibility exists down the road to change that up because they’ve certainly got the chops for that, too.
For the time being simply sit back and enjoy the sound of three talented players, all perfectly in synch, serving up a spirited collection of jigs, reels and assorted and sundry other pieces.
Or if the spirit moves you, push the furniture out of the way and kick up your heels a bit.
If this is the kind of music that gets your heart beating a little faster, this set will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
And if you get a chance to see them live, don’t hesitate to go.
Choice offerings here include Ken The Hen, Hey How’s It Goin’? and Ryan And Maguire’s. Oh hell, they’re all good.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Doug Gallant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his music review column for The Guardian every week. He welcomes comments from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 629-6000, ext. 6057.