April Verch Brings Band to Aberdeen
April Verch cross-stitches the melodic chimes of fiddle-based French Canadian old-time music with the darker sound of five-piece American old-time music.
On top of the two, which have made up her nine albums since high school, she step dances in Ottawa Valley-style.
"I don't have anything I want people to find in my music - I just want them to find something," Verch says about listener reception. "Music has the ability to touch us, heal us, help us remember something, give us an idea or inspiration. I hope we deliver it in a way that gives people what they need."
On Sunday, Feb. 10, the April Verch Band will perform at The Rooster's Wife at 114 Knight St., Aberdeen.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 at the door, and are available at theroosterswife.org.
The band will open with a French Canadian instrumental and throughout the night will play songs from Verch's most recent album, "Bright Like Gold," and the 2011 album "That's How We Run." The band will have albums (though not "Bright Like Gold," as the album is not set to be released until April 2), tune books, shirts and stickers available at the show.
Verch's bandmates are Cody Walters and Dan Emmett. Walters plays the upright bass in styles from bluegrass to jazz to Latin and the claw hammer banjo. Griffin has played guitar since age 9, won the Dan Emmett Flatpicking Competition two years in a row, and continues to play in local bluegrass bands.
Verch's hometown in the Ottawa Valley was mapped by its local talent-hosted potlucks and dances, but the advanced fiddlers and guitarists only played for pleasure, and not professionally. Verch decided to venture into the music business "because it's my passion and people always told me to do what you love."
But the passion alone does not buy her groceries.
"It's a type of business, and like everyone else who's self-employed, there's always uncertainty and never -guarantees," she says. "But I think that's part of what I like about it - it keeps me on my toes."
Verch started step dancing when she was 3 years old, fiddling when she was 6 and merging the two when she was 8.
"Everytime I was around it [fiddle music], people were having a good time and dancing and having a party," Verch says. "When I was that young, I thought every kid listened to fiddle music."
When she played at the 1998 Fiddlers of the World Convention, she heard the violin voice of Bruce Molsky.
"The Canadian and Appalachian traditions resonated in similar ways," Verch says. "Yes, they reminded me of home, but they were fresh and different."
The authenticity of old-time and bluegrass make the genres immune to extinction, even in the face of rock and pop. But it is just this authenticity and relentless tradition that can overpower new bands and voices within the genre.
Verch has kept herself distinct by allowing herself to play the music that woos her.
"I take what I like from those styles and combine and don't worry about what people would call it," she says. "I love the tradition of these styles. It was a way of life for these people and it was simple. We're not really adding or taking anything away from that, but doing more of the same in a new way."
The trio's voice sounds orchestrated, a glinting counterweight to the rawness typically associated with bluegrass. Their stringed instruments are so united that they sound as precise as single piano notes.
Verch says that her song "Broken" is most "representative" of the band's holistic musical approach.
"It sounds rootsy and old time; both American and Canadian," she says.
The song begins with a mournful soliloquy in Verch's soprano voice, admitting her broken heart. But once she says "Now I'm moving on; it takes so long," the dejected strains quicken into the triumphant second half of the song.
Verch was the first woman in history to win the Grand Masters and the Canadian Open, Canada's two events meant to sift out the best country talent.
She has been called a "world-class fiddler" by Sam Bush and last year toured for 270 days throughout Canada, the United States, the U.K., Europe and Australia.
Verch has performed full time since 2000 and was one of the openers in the earthy parade-like opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
"There's nothing like live music," she says. "It's simple, but we try to find the balance of getting out of the way of the music, and then there are some songs where we totally put ourselves in it."
For more information about the artist, visit http://aprilverch.com.
Visit theroosterswife.org or call (910) 944-7502.
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