Greg Spatz | Fiddler's Dream

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Greg Spatz's home page Mighty Squirrel Website Jaybirds Website

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Country: Bluegrass Folk: String Band Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Fiddler's Dream

by Greg Spatz

Known for his bluegrass fiddle work with "John Reischman and the Jaybirds," Greg's debut solo CD features bluegrass fiddle numbers with the Jaybirds and songs and tunes with the eclectic world-time folk stringband Mighty Squirrel.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Fiddler's Dream
2:41 $0.99
2. Caridwen's Waltz
3:08 $0.99
3. The Parting
2:59 $0.99
4. Valse Des Fourmis
2:25 $0.99
5. Rufty Tufty
2:00 $0.99
6. Bash Bish Falls
2:17 $0.99
7. Old Sport
3:17 $0.99
8. Lady Franklin's Dream
3:46 $0.99
9. Inisheer/the Blackbird
4:31 $0.99
10. Dream Angus
3:07 $0.99
11. Little Rabbit
3:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Fiddler’s Dream” is the debut solo recording of fiddle/bouzouki player Greg Spatz.

Greg is known primarily for his deft and tasteful fiddle work with the all-star bluegrass outfit, John Reischman and the Jaybirds. His fiddling can be heard on all of the Jaybirds recordings, most recently the critically acclaimed “Stellar Jays.”

Greg’s bluegrass fiddle resume includes work with High Country, The Good Old Persons, Due West, Rob Ickes, Sally Van Meter, Mark Vann, Kathy Kallick, Frank Wakefield, and many others. Fiddler Magazine calls him a “world class fiddler” and Audiophile Audition says Greg is “One of the best and most underrated Bluegrass fiddlers in the business. His fluid bluesy virtuosic playing is flawlessly delivered time after time.”

“Fiddler’s Dream” collects into one volume music featuring the three groups in which Greg has had the privilege of working the past several years. In roughly equal portions: bluegrass fiddle originals and traditional fiddle tunes backed by John Reischman and the Jaybirds (with special guest Rob Ickes); twin-fiddle and Celtic-inflected vocal-bouzouki duets with his wife Caridwen Irvine-Spatz; and the eclectic old-time world-folk sound of Mighty Squirrel.

Greg has studied and played Irish music for many years now. Listeners will be delighted with the way he skillfully blends Celtic influences with a bluegrass attack to create his own, unique style of bouzouki accompaniment. Whether alone or with Mighty Squirrel, his bouzouki work is always the perfect complement to Caridwen Irvine-Spatz’s “expressive, flexible and utterly charming” voice (Audiophile Audition).

With three books of fiction to his credit (two novels and one short story collection) and over 20 short story publications (including a story in The New Yorker), Greg is widely known for his fiction writing. Here he also takes a turn at tune-writing with two original fiddle tunes, “Bash Bish Falls” and “Caridwen’s Waltz.” Other songs included on “Fiddler’s Dream” were chosen for their relevance to Greg’s critically acclaimed most recent novel, also entitled Fiddler’s Dream.



to write a review

Dave Higgs, Nashville Public Radio

One-of-a-kind disc
Gorgeous material--timeless, otherworldly and uplifting. The fiddle playing is just spellbinding. However, the thing that really knocked me out is the bouzouki playing. Just a phenomenal example of what can be done with the instrument. Truly a one-of-a-kind disc.
-- Dave Higgs, Nashville Public Radio

Bluegrass Unlimited

Listener's Dream
Greg Spatz has titled this CD "Fiddler's Dream," but he could just as accurately have christened it "Listener's Dream." This northwest fiddle player has created an album that is oh-so pleasant to listen to-diverse, dreamy, dynamic, and utterly delightful. Although it's relatively short at just over 33 minutes, it nevertheless delivers 11 high-quality tracks that transport one to distant villages, sunny glens, and rollicking front porches.

Spatz enlists the talents of some of the region's heavy hitters: John Reischman, Jim Nunally, Nick Hornbuckle, and Rob Ickes, for example. Most tracks are instrumentals, ranging from hot bluegrass to melancholy Celtic to old-time traditionals. Each is arranged and played with technical skill and inspiration-a subtle nuance here, a bold explosion there. Each song is delivered as a complete entity by itself, yet each is a carefully chosen part of the whole. These are tunes capable of producing an exquisite heartache or a hand-clapping good time, occasionally during the same track. Listen to "Inisheer/The Blackbird." The twin fiddles will first break your heart, then rouse you out of your melancholy with a cascade of bright joy.

The four vocal tracks are sung by Spatz's wife, Caridwen, whose absolutely gorgeous and ethereal voice is perfect for the Celtic flavors that are intermingled with the twin-fiddle and hot-picking tunes. It's a voice you'll want to hear more of. "The Parting," "Lady Franklin's Dream," and "Dream Angus" are all traditional numbers with a dreamy, faraway quality to them.

For contrast, the bluegrass fiddle tunes are delightfully merry. "Bash Bish Falls" (a Greg Spatz original) is full of bouncy, splashy energy, while "Old Sport" slows the pace to a more comfortable lope. "Little Rabbit" ends the album on another uptempo traditional fiddle and banjo tune. This is a joyful album full of strength and gentleness.

Glow of Freshness
Gregory Spatz is a writer of literary fiction: two novels, one titled Fiddler's Dream, and a short-story collection. His fiction credits include no less than The New Yorker, to which virtually all serious writers aspire.

And then there is fiddler Greg Spatz, the same absurdly gifted guy, who plays Celtic music, bluegrass, Appalachian folk and swing with aplomb. Fiddler's Dream -- the recording, not the novel -- brings together material from three groups of which he's a member. Though the styles are various, the sound is cohesive and uniformly enjoyable.

Most of the album is devoted to traditional songs and fiddle tunes, with a couple of Spatz originals and a song written and sung in French by his wife Caridwen Spatz, also a fiddler. The smartly chosen material documents Spatz's deep knowledge of folk music. Only the Anglo-Celtic "Lady Franklin's Dream" (a.k.a. "Lord Franklin") and the Appalachian "Little Rabbit" are immediately recognizable, and even they are done in distinctive arrangements that give them a glow of freshness.

Spatz performs variously in a duo with his wife, in a bluegrass band with John Reischman & the Jaybirds, and in the world-folk ensemble Mighty Squirrel. Fiddler's Dream is exactly what a traditional recording ought to be in the early 21st century, a thing both of its time and of the times that created these styles and traditions in the first place. It's all accomplished with skill, taste and heart.

Jerome Clark,

Audiophile Audition

Virtuosic and soulful fiddle and bouzouki renditions of Celtic, folk, and Bluegr
Greg Spatz is one of those musicians that fly under the radar of most people, if you aren’t paying attention. Immensely talented (impeccable technique, rock-solid rhythm, and a facile, bluesy sound) with a keen ear for spot-on performances, Greg is a fiddle-player’s fiddle player. At the moment he is most well-known as the fiddler in John Reischman and the Jaybirds, a Bluegrass band based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Last year I reviewed their excellent CD, “Stellar Jays,” for Audiophile Audition along with the recording “Mighty Squirrels,” which is Greg’s other band, self-described as “eclectic world-time folk.”

“Fiddler’s Dream” is Greg Spatz’s first solo project (for more information, go to

Fiddler’s Dream represents Greg’s own personal interests in music that extends beyond Bluegrass and includes his new efforts playing the bouzouki, a lower-voiced, eight-stringed cousin to the mandolin. For sure, there are Bluegrass numbers here and Greg is ably backed up by John Reischman and the Jaybirds along with Rob Ickes, one of the best Dobro players around, but there are a fair amount of Celtic and folk music, too. For those tunes, Greg is either backed up by members of his other group, Mighty Squirrel, or by his wife, Caridwen Irvine-Spatz, a lovely singer, an accomplished fiddler, and also a member of Mighty Squirrel. Greg and Caridwen perform two delightful fiddle duets, “Rufty Tufty” and “Inisheer/The Blackbird.” Rather than stepping out front for every song (of course, he does deliver a number of exquisite solos), Greg is content to play back-up for the other musicians in several tunes. This is both a testimony to his generosity as a musician and perhaps a part of the reason he’s still underrated and unrecognized as one of the finest fiddlers playing today.

Fiddler’s Dream is a tasty treat for those looking for authentic and expressive Bluegrass and folk music. It’s so good that it will leave you wanting more.

Bluegrass Breakdown

Many Talents and Musical Styles
Greg Spatz is a man of many talents and musical styles. He has written two novels and is a master of fiddling styles that easily flow from fiery bluegrass bowing to gentle flowing waltzes with a Celtic flavor. His fiddle playing with John Reischman and the Jaybirds helps power the sound of this premier bluegrass band, and Greg's band Mighty Squirrel features an exciting mixture of old world-folk styles. Greg also performs with his wife Caridwen Irvine-Spatz in a magical blend of Celtic-flavored vocals and bouzouki.

His version of "Old Sport" blends both his fiddle and bouzouki with Ivan Rosenberg's clawhammer banjo. The Effervescent "Bash Bish Falls" is one of Greg's own tunes with John Reischman and the Jaybirds backing Greg's twin fiddles and some dobro embellishments from Rob Ickes.

Caridwen's lyrical vocals are a delight and she is featured in the Irish ballad "Lady Franklin's Dream" that retells the story of Greg's great-great uncle, the Arctic explorer Lord John Franklin. Greg and Caridwen also combine talents in a fiddle duet of the Irish air "Inisheer" and the traditional "Blackbird." The traditional song "Rufty Tufty" is an old English Dance tune played with sprightly elegance by Greg and Caridwen on fiddles.

Bluegrass Now

Dream Come True
Greg Spatz is best known in bluegrass as the fiddler for John Reischman and the Jaybirds, and as an alumnus of the Good Ol\' Persons and High Country. He\'s also a member of the world-folk stringband Mighty Squirrel, a teacher at Eastern Washington University, and an award-winning author.

A family man to boot, Spatz somehow is found the time to merge his pursuits into a world-class debut. Fiddler\'s Dream (also the title of one of his novels) assembles 11 tracks of Jaybirds bluegrass and old-time music, Mighty Squirrel collaborations and duets with his wife, Caridwen Irvine-Spatz.

The Jaybirds open and close Fiddler\'s Dream with the traditional title track and \"Little Rabbit.\" They also back both Spatz originals, \"Caridwen\'s Waltz\" and \"Bish Bash Falls.\" Mighty Squirrel mates David Keenan, Ivan Rosenberg, and Irvine-Spatz mix it up on the old-time \"Old Sport\" and Caridwen\'s \"Valse Des Fourmis.\" Spatz\' duets with his wife comprise a pair of twin fiddle tunes and a pair of Celtic numbers that feature her beautiful vocals backed by his elegant bouzouki.

The stylistic progressions are even more intriguing than Spatz\' eventful life trek from New York City to Spokane. Simply put, Fiddler\'s Dream is a dream come true!