Washington Post review for Bonnie Rideout’s Scottish Inheritance/ Tulloch Music

April 25, 2003

Bonnie Rideout is one of the few Celtic Fiddlers to carry a full-time percussionist in her band, and it’s Steve Holloway’s work on bodhran, shakers, djembe and snare drum that give Rideout’s new album, “Scottish Inheritance”, such a sturdy bottom. Rideout plays with the sort of relaxed agility and crisp articulation that wins Scottish fiddle contests, and she is a three-time winner of the United States National Fiddle Championship. But a recording demands different things than a contest, and the Northern Virginia fiddler benefits greatly from the rhythmic framework provided by her latest bandmates, Holloway and guitarist Bryan Aspey.

The two men establish their presence on the opening track, “Wilkie’s Footrace”, and seldom let up as the album gallops through marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs and hornpipes. Rideout is more than up to the test, for she attacks these pieces with aggressive bowing and free phrasing that make this her best album.

The disc emphasizes modern additions to the Scottish fiddle repertoire, not only such Scottish giants as Arthur Scott Robertson, Ron Gonella, Matt Hermann and Bert Murray, but also by such Americans as Al Smitley and Rideout herself. The tunes provide intriguing melodies, and Rideout is so adept at variations that she can sustain interest in her medleys even as six of them pass the five-minute mark- and in one case the 10- minute mark.

-- Geoffrey Himes