April Verch has never sounded more comfortable in her skin than she does now, in the second decade of her career as an internationally touring Canadian fiddler, step dancer and singer-songwriter. Her ninth album, Bright Like Gold, captures a woman who's fleshed out her identity and is in full command of her gifts,DSC_8521 a woman who's grown from a prodigy into an enduring artistone of music's most unforgiving public transitionswith grace and grit to spare.
The story of how Verch came to be a brilliant interpreter of tradition is just as striking as the results. She's of a generation far more likely to have spent its formative years taking in MTV than taking part in any sort of traditional music scene, and yet practically from birth she was immersed in folk music and dance from her native Ottawa Valley, a melting pot of Franco-Celtic flavors brought by the hard-working loggers who settled the area. Ferried to dance-filled old-time gatherings and country & western jamborees by her music-loving parents, she followed her older sister into step dancing at age 3, and picked up the fiddle at age 6. She was lucky to have the chance to start studying, performing and competing in both so early, but there's no question that she also made the most of it.
Says Verch, "I was fortunate to have an opportunity to grow up performing with a lot of people that didn't make their living playing music, but were the local country music stars. And I remember my parents asking them questions and having them talk to me and tell me how hard it was to have a career in music. I think the reason I did some of the things I did so early on, such as recording my first album at thirteen, was because I thought, 'I know this is hard, but I'm still going to do this. So I'd better get going.' In a sense, their way of trying to warn me just made me push all the harder."
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