Jerry Holland and Kimberley Fraser
at the Regent Theatre

Event Summary

2008 April 27 (Sunday)
The Regent Theatre, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, Massachusetts
The Boston Scottish Fiddle Club presents Cape Breton fiddlers Jerry Holland and Kimberley Fraser.
$22.50 (includes $2.50 facility fee)

Review for the Cape Breton Music List
(Posted 2008 May 2)

This past Sunday, the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club presented a concert of Cape Breton music at the Regent Theatre in Arlington (Massachusetts) featuring the master musicians Jerry Holland and Kimberley Fraser with guest appearances by Doug Lamey and Dedo Norris .

Anne Kaufman opened the concert, welcoming Jerry and Kimberley, neither of whom really needed introducing to the enthusiastic and knowledgeable, though, disappointingly, smallish, audience (it looked to me as if less than half the theatre was filled). Jerry on fiddle and Kimberley on keyboards then launched into a jig set. The second set began with Jerry’s Old Faithful march, found on his A Session with Jerry Holland CD and often heard in the playing of Buddy MacMaster, and was followed by a long set of reels. Doug Lamey then joined Jerry on stage; Jerry recalled how, as a child, he had met Bill Lamey, Doug’s grandfather, who encouraged him to play and later gave him his first gig at a dance. Jerry and Doug then played on dual fiddles, with Kimberley on keyboards, first a set of jigs, then a set of three reels, and last a set of several tunes often played by Bill Lamey, starting with the slow airs Mrs Crawford’s and Over the Moor Among the Heather (both appear on Jerry’s The Fiddlesticks Collection and Parlor Music CD’s and on Bill Lamey’s Full Circle CD). Doug then had to leave the concert for another engagement. Next, Jerry talked about his father, who had patiently taught him fiddling as a very young child, and for whom he composed the tune called My Cape Breton Home, which was given this “title to express the love [Jerry and his father] had for Cape Breton, its music, and its people”.[1] The great set that followed started with this lovely slow air and included the French-Canadian/Québécois reel The Old Man and the Old Woman.[2] It was then intermission time; how fast the hour had flown!

Returning to the stage after the break, after more reminiscences of Jerry’s experiences with Bill Lamey and some back and forth with his descendants in the audience, Jerry and Kimberley played another great set of tunes associated with Bill Lamey. Jerry next invited Dedo Norris to come to the stage to take over the keyboards and Kimberley to take up the fiddle, after which he retired to the side of stage, listening attentively and appreciatively as Kimberley and Dedo launched into a fine set including The Sweetness of Mary, Devil in the Kitchen, Jerry’s Johnny Muise’s Reel, Liz Carroll’s fine Wissahickon Drive, and Gordon MacLean’s The Mortgage Burn. After Kimberley played a jig set, Dedo returned to her seat, Kimberley went back to the keyboards, and Jerry again took up his fiddle, giving us a set that included Jerry’s Paul Cranford’s Five Day Wedding Reel. Next came Quarter Moon, a waltz co-written by Jerry Holland and Lew Alpaugh; Kimberley’s accompaniments throughout had been very fine, but, on this waltz, the beautiful movement she added to the piece was really stunning. A jig set followed and again I was especially impressed with Kimberley’s subtle but very fine accompaniments. I suspect that by this time Jerry was getting tired, as he asked whether we had had enough yet; as one, the shout “NO!” came back from the audience. So Jerry played a great hornpipe set, including Garfield’s Vale, Newcastle, Hiawatha, and at least three others. A semi-slow air mostly played in the high register that I have often heard but whose name I do not know followed the hornpipe set and continued with other tunes, including Hamish the Carpenter. After a standing ovation, Jerry asked Dedo to come back to the keyboards and Kimberley and Jerry on dual fiddles gave us a final set including the strathspeys Miss Lyall and King George the IVth, and John Campbell’s reel, Sandy MacIntyre’s Trip to Boston. Peggy Lamey came up from the audience and step-danced during this final set.

Thanks to the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club for mounting this concert and to all the artists for their superb music. There were many other things going on in Boston this week-end, which doubtless accounted for the weak attendance, but there is no way that any other event in the city could have matched this one. What a first-class afternoon of great music this was!

[1] Jerry Holland’s Collection of Fiddle Tunes, edited by Paul Stuart Cranford, Cranford Publications, Englishtown, Cape Breton Island, fifth edition, 2004, ISBN 0-9691181-2-0, p. 98.

[2] I am indebted here and later to Barbara McOwen and Marcia Palmater for the tune names that Jerry didn’t give (other than the very few I recognize by name).


Anne Kaufman opens the concert

Kimberley Fraser on keyboards

Jerry Holland on fiddle

Jerry Holland on fiddle accompanied by Kimberley Fraser on keyboards

Jerry Holland and Doug Lamey on dual fiddles

Kimberley Fraser on keyboards

Jerry Holland on fiddle

Doug Lamey on fiddle

Jerry Holland on fiddle

Kimberley Fraser on keyboards

Jerry Holland watches Kimberley Fraser and Dedo Norris from the side of the stage

Kimberley Fraser on fiddle

Dedo Norris on keyboards

Kimberley Fraser on fiddle

Jerry Holland on fiddle

Kimberley Fraser on keyboards

Jerry Holland on fiddle

Jerry Holland on fiddle accompanied by Kimberley Fraser on keyboards

Jerry Holland and Kimberley Fraser on dual fiddles during the encore

Dedo Norris on keyboards during the encore

Peggy Lamey step-dancing during the encore

Jerry Holland and Kimberley Fraser on dual fiddles during the encore

Jerry Holland on fiddle during the encore