Natalie MacMaster bringing stripped-down, back-to-basics approach to Rawlinson Stage

Photo courtesy Eric Alper. Natalie MacMaster is set to bring her acoustic show to the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Oct. 18.

Scott Roos/Herald contributor

On the heels of Thanksgiving weekend, this Friday, Oct. 18th, music fans in Prince Albert will continue to have plenty to be thankful for as Canadian fiddling legend Natalie MacMaster will be gracing the stage at the EA Rawlinson Centre For the Arts in support of her soon to be released album (November 1st) entitled “Sketches” – her first Solo album in eight years.

“It doesn’t really feel like it’s been eight years (since the release of a solo album) because I’m still playing, and touring and recording and stuff and life’s busy with home life so when people say that, I’m like ‘Really?’ but I guess if you do the math it is. It’s just a different version of me to do what I’ve done the past eight years – travelling with the kids and with my husband, ” states Natalie in a recent telephone conversation.

The show at the Rawlinson this weekend will feature a stripped down, back to basics approach, simply entitled  “An Acoustic Evening with Natalie MacMaster”. It’s this same approach that is evident on “Sketches” so you can count on hearing a lot of the new material.  Along for the ride on this tour will be trusty guitarist Tim Edey who was responsible for many of the arrangements on “Sketches”. 

Natalie first met Tim, who is from Scotland, five years ago during a session for a different record. Natalie had never worked exclusively with a guitar player before and as the two casually jammed together for the first time, it was evident from the get go that there was a synergy between them. 

“It was a simple moment that I had with (Tim Edey) that was just knock your socks off. He’s just really (a) musical genius. Playing with him five years ago when Donnell (Leahy – Natalie’s husband) and I were preparing for another recording, when I was just sitting down with (Tim and I) playing, it just had such an impact on me and I was musically brought to new places and I said to him that day five years ago ‘We have got to do a record together – just the two of us,’” explains Natalie. 

The result of these sessions is a reinvigorated Natalie MacMaster. The tunes and song sets on “Sketches” radiate with a joy and a “spring in her step” overall vibe. On top of this, there’s also intimate moments of raw emotion that will move you to tears. On “Sketches” the version of Natalie MacMaster we get is one that seems thankful for the opportunities she’s been given in life – it radiates through her bow. She’s a mother of seven wonderful children (her thirteen year old daughter Mary Frances will also be coming with her on this tour as her pianist) with a strong marriage to husband Donnell Leahy for starters. But, in the end, what is also bubbling just below the surface of home and family life is that same passion for the act of playing and performing the music she has always loved. It’s a passion that will be on full display this Friday at the Rawlinson.