Is it fiddle or violin? Depends on the genre. Jenna Moynihan is a young musician who plays with technical proficiency and real power. It matters not whether it's a violin or fiddle.
Moynihan's new release, "Woven," draws from the Scottish fiddle tradition with great success. She tackles reels, airs and Mixolydian forms with equal intensity. Significantly, Moynihan, a recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music, has collaborated with other (mostly) young players from the roots music scene in Boston to create the tapestry of work in this collection.
Estimable harpist Maeve Gilchrist produced "Woven" and the record benefits greatly from her light touch and ear for the genre. The selections are buoyant, but complex; textured, but easy-flowing.
Moynihan shows no fear in tackling the varied material. "Dolina McKay," one of the Mixolydian numbers, is spare, but sharp. As in many of the selections, there's some tasty guitar counterpoint to Moynihan's fiddle line. It should be no surprise that Courtney Hartman, a fellow Berklee graduate, contributed. Hartman is as smooth a player as there is these days.
"The Chill On Montebello," rendered in an uncommon fiddle tuning, stands out: it rolls along with energy. "Kendall Tavern/Dancing In Allhies" offers a harp line (featuring Mairi Chaimbeul) to start, but then launches into a sure-footed and smooth dance tune. Owen Marshall, a Celtic guitarist of note based in the Northeast, contributes on several tracks, to great effect.
"Woven" features traditional music played with a modern sensibility, but with great talent and assuredness.