Ian Hardie | Westringing

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by Ian Hardie

Scotland meets Appalachia: a Caledonian/old-time crossover featuring fiddle & viola solos in altered tunings from one of Scotland's leading fiddle players
Genre: Folk: Scottish Traditional
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Carn Gorm to Blue Ridge
2:53 $0.99
2. Karen's Waltz/late Night At Kincraigie
4:38 $0.99
3. Burnsville Loop
2:43 $0.99
4. Cape Fear
3:48 $0.99
5. Da Scalloway Lasses/da New Riggit Ship/wynadepla/da Cauld Nights
4:33 $0.99
6. Tollaidh
4:21 $0.99
7. The Grey One Goes West
3:39 $0.99
8. The Rejected Suitor/malcolm the Tailor/captain Lachlan Macphail
4:42 $0.99
9. The 6844 Stomp
2:30 $0.99
10. Pass of the Sword
3:54 $0.99
11. Dip the Hood/french Broad Lightning
2:57 $0.99
12. The Lone Ash Waltz
3:30 $0.99
13. Banjo Branch Fiddle
3:17 $0.99
14. The Highlands of Nairnshire
7:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Scotland meets Appalachia
Fiddle & viola solos – from The Cairngorms to The Blue Ridge

Scottish fiddle player IAN HARDIE releases a new CD recording December 2007 which chalks up several firsts

His first totally solo recording
His first album entirely in altered tunings
His first CD featuring compositions influenced by Appalachian old-time fiddle music
His first own-label release ( after numerous albums on Greentrax over 20 years from TRAX001 onwards )

Inspired by his exposure to Appalachian music and dance whilst performing at the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ian travelled extensively to The Blue Ridge Mountains in 2005 & 2006 to immerse himself in the music and culture of the old-time community. WESTRINGING resounds with that influence, on many newly composed melodies as well as tunes from Shetland, the Highland bagpipe repertoire and his own fiddle pibroch.

WESTRINGING is a significant, new direction for Ian after over 35 years involvement in the Scottish Folk scene ( solo, with Andy Thorburn and in bands such as Jock Tamson’s Bairns & Highland Connection ) as well as current Dance playing with The Occasionals & The Ghillies. You probably won’t have heard anything quite like this from a Scot before!

WESTRINGING will be on general release from December 2007 and is also available from Ian’s new website



www.greenmanreview.com USA February 2008

Ian Hardie, westringing (Ian Hardie, 2007)

Ian Hardie is a well-known Scottish fiddler as a solo act, as a duo with Andy Thorburn and in bands that include Jock Tamson's Bairns and Highland Connection. He's been active in the Scottish folk scene for 35 years and recorded on Greentrax for 20 years. westringing represents a number of firsts for Ian: his first totally solo recording, the first on his own label, and his first done entirely in altered tunings.

He was inspired to record in altered tunings -- mostly "open" tunings -- by a stint in Appalachia in 2005 and 2006. He rubbed elbows with many an old-time fiddler in North Carolina, Virginia and elsewhere, after being exposed to Appalachian music while playing at a Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. This album, subtitled "Scotland meets Appalachia," was the result.

The 14 tracks consist mostly of Hardie's original compositions, except for some traditional tunes in a couple of sets of reels. He plays violin and viola, mostly in common open tunings such as AEAE and GCGD, with an occasional excursion into more exotic territory -- one lovely pibroch titled "Cape Fear" he plays on the viola in C#F#C#F#. That one, the fourth track, was inspired by the landing point on the North Carolina coast where many Scots entered America, settling in the area of what's now Fayetteville.

But before we get there, Hardie kicks off in high energy on the fiddle with "Carn Gorm to Blue Ridge," which neatly encapsulates the whole project in title and execution. It's a tidy blending of Scottish and Appalachian fiddle styles; the melody is obviously Appalachian inspired, but he uses techniques like octave-drops that impart a Scottish feel -- and it has a hint of syncopation such as the Scots immigrants would've picked up from the African Americans.

From there to the end, he puts on an impressive display of fiddling with roots of varying depth from both traditions. "Karen's Waltz" is a lovely, lilting and playful dance tune with a contemporary sound that kicks into a spirited fast reel. "Burnsville Loop" is a slip jig (I think) with lots of ornamentation. The tune sets include one of all traditional Shetland reels, the other of Highland pipe tunes -- three traditional and one Hardie composition, "The Arthritic Reel," which he claims is part of a suite composed for an international conference of arthritis doctors in Glasgow. Hard to know when a Scot is pulling your leg, no?

Some tunes are pretty exclusively Scottish. These include "Pass Of The Sword," named for a location in Scotland, and "The Highlands Of Nairnshire," composed on commission for the Millennium Highland Festival. And others, like "The Lone Ash Waltz," "Banjo Branch Fiddle" and "Dip The Hood / French Broad Lightning" draw almost entirely from Appalachia.

Hardie is a lovely player, with excellent control and expression in his playing. My only wee criticism of the album is that it's a long set of nothing but solo fiddling; an occasional guitar or mandolin accompaniment would do much to keep things interesting for those of short attention span. (The viola, with its deeper tone, provides some variety.) But westringing is a superb example of a "concept" album that hews closely to its stated theme and delivers in spades. Lovers of good fiddle music will find a lot to like here. (Good notes, art and design, especially for an independent release, too.)

[Gary Whitehouse]

FROOTS Magazine England June 2008

Ian Hardie.... is a main architect of the current fiddle revival, not only as a performer, notably with the pioneering Jock Tamson's Bairns and currently with Edinburgh ceilidh band The Occasionals, but also as editor of The Nineties Collection, conserving with timely awareness some of the musical riches of the recent tune surge. He is also, as this latest project demonstrates, a fine composer. Being embedded in a particular geographical place is part of how folk music was traditionally defined, but Westringing, subtitled Scotland Meets Appalachia, is an indirect product of that very post-modern phenomenon, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which in 2003 brought together musicians from Scotland, Mali and Appalachia, and first prompted Mr Hardie's serious immersion in old-time music. All 14 tracks are in non-standard fiddle (or viola) tuning, mostly cross-tuning, and vibrantly played as unaccompanied solos. Tunes like Cam Gorm To Blue Ridge and The Grey One Goes West show a mastery of Appalachian idiom, while the use of cross-tuning in a set of traditional Shetland reels cannily reinforces the stylistic link to 'Scottish' tunes like Tollaidh, and a superb fiddle pibroch, The Highlands Of Nairnshire. Far from merely ticking style boxes, though, to create a pastiche, Ian Hardie, with his technical mastery of the fiddle, his musical erudition and impeccable taste, has created a truly impressive original work. He's also a rather good landscape painter. Recommended.

Pete Cooper
Irish Music Magazine March 2008 edition

The sub title and the sub-sub titles on this album say it all. First it is ‘Scotland meets Appalachia and this is further explained as “fiddle and viola solos in altered tunings from The Cairngorms to The Blue Ridge”. We are all familiar with the tales of the migration of the folk tradition across the ‘Western Ocean’. Hardie, a fantastic Scottish fiddle player followed the trail and learned and re-learned his craft in the old time communities of the Blue Ridge Mountains in recent years and from that rebirth he has produced a wonderful album of fourteen instrumental tracks. It opens with the self explanatory ‘Carn Gorm to Blue Ridge’, which is not only a great piece of music but it reminds us of the origin of the Cairngorms title.
These are not re-hashed traditional tunes. Hardie has composed new works based on his travels and his education in styles of playing. The work will be new and that is always hard to sell, we are addicted to the familiar, but this album is worth the effort and will delight anyone who loves good music well played.
It may be ‘Karen’s Waltz’ or ‘The Grey One Goes West’ or even ‘Banjo Branch Fiddle’ that hooks you but hooked you will be if you are willing to invest some time in new old music or is that old new music? Either way the unusually titled ‘Westringing’ will repay your effort.

Nicky Rossiter

FolkWorld Issue 36 07/2008
FolkWorld CD Reviews

Ian Hardie "Westringing"
Label: Own label; IJHCD001; 2007; Playing time: 54:53 min
There is a physical connection between the Blue Mountains of Scotland (Cairngorms) and the Blue Mountains of the New World (Blue Ridge), which were settled by so many Scots-Irish in the 18th century. Once they were part of the very same land mass. However, "Westringing" is music that is not from million years ago. Scottish fiddler Ian Hardie has been a member of bands such as Jock Tamson's Bairns (-> FW#31) and The Occasionals (-> FW#32). In 2003 he became interested in the sound of old-time Appalachian fiddle music, some of which came from Ireland and Scotland before. Ian made some study trips to learn from native American players. He composed own tunes in the genre, the outcome being "Westringing - Scotland meets Appalachia - fiddle and viola solos in altered tunings from The Cairngorms to The Blue Ridge". This actually says it all, except that it really is a great and enjoyable album too. Most are Ian's original compositions, plus some traditional Shetland tunes and a set of pipe reels, respectively. Ian uses altered open tunings on the fiddle to increase harmony, drone, tone and volume options for the unaccompanied player. The old Shetland tuning AEAE is the most common, it is featured on eight tracks, and furthermore two GCGD, ADAD and C#F#C#F# (on the viola), respectively.

• Published Date: 14 December 2007
• Source: The Scotsman
• Location: Scotland


IAN Hardie is best known as a member of Jock Tamson's Bairns, The Occasionals and The Ghillies, but this solo album features the excellent Nairn-based fiddler in a much less familiar setting. The tongue-twisting title is explained more clearly in the album's subtitle, Scotland meets Appalachia. He has chosen to explore the musical ideas inspired by performing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC, in 2003, and subsequent research trips to Appalachia to study the music of the region and its historic Scots-Irish connections. It is his first entirely solo album, and he employs a range of altered tunings to splendid effect on both fiddle and viola. Other than a smattering of arrangements of traditional material, the compositions are all his own, and include a Pibroch for fiddle, The Highlands of Nairnshire, as well as a range of tunes inspired by old-time Appalachian, Scottish and Shetland fiddle styles


• Published Date: 05 January 2008
• Source: The Herald
• Location: Scotland

CD reviews
WESTRINGING - Ian Hardie – IJH ****
The former Jock Tamson’s Bairns fiddler goes solo on an album that vividly captures the connection between the music that blossomed in Appalachia with the Scots diaspora and its Highland fiddling and bagpiping roots. Nairn-based Hardie, already a prolific tunesmith, has immersed himself in the old-time culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Using altered fiddle tunings and self-accompaniment techniques, he becomes a one-person dance band on sweetly turned waltzes and the more vigorous numbers, while Tollaidh, celebrating a Gairloch farm, conveys thousands of miles of longing and The Grey One Goes West presents a bluesy Appalachian ballad just waiting for Bruce Molsky to give it words.


• Published Date: 13 January 2008
• Source: Scotland On Sunday
• Location: Scotland

CD reviews

IJH Records IJHCD001

Recorded live with no overdubs, backing instruments or studio trickery, this is a solo fiddle album with a difference from the well-respected Scots performer and composer. Subtitled 'Scotland meets Appalachia', it's the fruit of trips to the States to research the old-time fiddle stylists, and especially the unusual tunings of musicians in the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond. Hardie's own strong compositions join a few old Shetland and Scottish reels, with witty sleeve notes. A must for those interested in our great evolving fiddle tradition.


Published Date: 14 December 2007
• Source: The Scotsman
• Location: Scotland

"a striking new solo album from the Nairn-based player and prolific tune composer Ian Hardie... The ringing, double-stopped sound is both familiar to anyone acquainted with American music, yet can also give an intriguing new feel to established Scottish material ... listen to him play a set of Highland pipe tunes, using the same "crosskey" tuning, giving them a new vigour... Opening with the skittish drive of Carn Gorm to Blue Ridge, the album is by no means all hell-for-leather. It includes a beautiful version of his air, Tollaidh, and ends with a stately "fiddle pibroch", The Highlands of Nairnshire, its resonant, droning strings mimicking some bagpipe pibroch fingerings, and bringing this wandering music securely back home."
Jim Gilchrist, 'FOLK, JAZZ, ETC' The Scotsman


3.WEBSITE BIO www.ian-hardie.co.uk

Born in Edinburgh in 1952, Ian Hardie has been playing the fiddle since the age of six. Trained classically until his early teens, he has been at the forefront of Scottish fiddling since the early 1970s and has always played in his own very Scottish style but with an eclecticism which is reflected in much of his performance and new compositions over the years.

This eclecticism is now taking on another complexion with the late 2007 release of WESTRINGING, an own-label CD recording of tunes (many newly composed), in various altered tunings, drawing on the old-time fiddle tradition of Appalachia.

As a founder member of the seminal Scots folk band Jock Tamson's Bairns, Ian Hardie has been deeply involved in the Scottish instrumental and song revival from the 1970s with the body of work produced by The Bairns over the years being acknowledged as "a benchmark for others who aspire to understand and convey Scottish traditional music in its finest guise”.

Ian Hardie has performed and recorded extensively over the years as a soloist, with pianist Andy Thorburn and folk bands (other than JTB), The Ghillies and Highland Connection.

He is mostly involved nowadays in playing for dance with top Edinburgh ceilidh band The Occasionals and Highland reels and ceilidh trio The Ghillies - with Duncan MacGillivray and Andy Thorburn - plus some duo work with Duncan.

Ian is also well-known as a composer with four albums and three tune books of own composition since 1986. Numerous other artists play and have recorded his tunes. WESTRINGING brings another dimension to this output and the CD includes his fiddle pibroch commissioned for The Millennium Highland Festival.

Ian Hardie was editor of The Nineties Collection, a signature volume of new traditional-style composition in Scotland in the 1990s, Ian Hardie was also integral to the two recordings featuring tunes from the Collection as well as touring the music with the five-piece version of The Ghillies.

For many years, Ian Hardie combined music with full then part time practice as a lawyer but since 2001 has been exclusively involved in music and enjoyment of the many benefits of life in the Scottish Highlands from his seaside home in Nairn.



to write a review

R. Howell

Without a doubt, Ian Hardie is one of, if not THE, finest Scottish fiddlers- - period. His delivery is smooth, sensitive, and technically pristine - - the right combination! His newest solo recording of "Westringing" offers up a whole table-full of mostly original fiddle gems in altered or "open" tunings, which transport the listener directily back to "the Old Country" - - their airy, rhythmic sounds put you right there in the midst of the hills and mists of Scotland. Ian has spent a good amount of time in our own Southern Appalachias as well, collecting and learning the ancient fiddle styles from some of it's many practioners, inspiring him to create this wonderful new CD. Each tune has it's own air of the Highlands, and it's hard to believe that most every tune was written by Ian himself! Do yourself a favor and pick up Ian Hardie's new recording of "Westringing" and treat yourself to one the BEST fiddle collections to come along in many a year!