Fiddler Jamie Bartschi takes a pinch of melody from the Emerald Isles, a dash of contemporary folk and songsmithing, and a splash of bluegrass to make the recipe for her new album, “Unpaved.”
From the Bear Lake area, Bartschi is known in the regional music scene for her clear tone and imaginative ability to improve on her fiddle. Her crystalline note work is captured well on the new CD, which she also produced and recorded at Whysound Studios in Logan.
The CD features 14 songs, ranging from traditionals and standards by Johnny Mercer and Duke Ellington to modern classics by the likes of Paul McCartney and jazz sax man Sonny Rollins.
Guest artists include several from Northern Utah, including Honeyville-based fingerstyle guitarist Austin Weyand. She and Weyand have performed together frequently around Northern Utah and Southern Idaho.
Most of the songs are instrumental, showcasing Bartschi’s fine technique on the fiddle. (She also knows her way around a guitar, which is heard on several cuts.) But she includes a couple of songs with vocals, including a sweet vocal turn by Jessica Harris Turner on “Chartless.” Bartschi herself sings on John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me,” displaying a lovely, understated vocal style.
To close the album, Bartschi pulls out two live and show-stopping audience-pleasers. She gives an entertaining and energetic take on Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” singing as well as playing the part of the upstart fiddler who takes on Old Scratch in a contest. The Wasatch Back Band, from Bear Lake Valley, accompanies her on the song.
The final tune, labeled “Orange Blossom Special,” is really something of a medley, with Bartschi leading off not with the song that is sometimes called the fiddlers’ national anthem, but with a riff from “Theme From Peter Gunn.” From there, Bartschi segues into The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the theme song from “The Andy Griffith Show.” It’s an impressive display of quick fingering and a fine sense of humor.
Besides being an accomplished musician, Bartschi is also a music teacher and a music therapist who practices in Montpelier, Idaho. For fans of fiddling, Bartschi’s new album may be just what the doctor ordered.