"...one of the most beautiful recordings of traditional music..."
-Irish America Music Roundup
"Todd Denman and Dale Russ are a prime example of Irish music becoming
borderless these days. Denman, the duo's uilleann piper, and Russ,
the fiddler, play in a beautifully restrained style, allowing the
innate melodies of these session tunes to come forth naturally. Although
they frolic fecklessly together in unison, each also delicately balances
the accompaniment while the other solos effortlessly. The result of
their carefully articulated music is a rousing spiritual feeling that
often separates into a life of its own. Some tunes, like the slow
pipe aire of "Eanach Cuain," the tin whistle's tonality
on "Todd's Rambles" or the precise, pristine fiddling on
"The Stacks of Barley," are wonderful displays of their
individual talents. Occasionally there are a few parts shaded in,
like piano, bodhrán, and a rippling banjo, but it's only a
light hue. Denman and Russ shine brightly throughout."
"I first saw a reference to this disc - which is subtitled "an
uilleann pipes and fiddle adventure" - when it was listed in Irish
Music magazine among the hottest-selling traditional discs in Dublin.
It seems that San Francisco's Aniar Records had bypassed the New York-area
Irish labels and struck a distribution deal with Gael Linn in Ireland.
This means the disc is hard to get on the East Coast, but it's well worth
"Clare fiddle sensation Martin Hayes lent his imprimatur to the
record in the liner notes, observing that "some of the most authentic
Irish music you are likely to hear today is played by American-born musicians
living on the west coast of the U.S. Two such musicians are Todd Denman
and Dale Russ.
"Hayes knows what he's talking about. Reeds and Rosin is one of
the best Irish recordings of the year. [And]...one of the best pipes and
fiddle duets on record."
- Don Meade, The Irish
"The [pipes and fiddle] combination creates an especially warm,
rich sound on tracks like "The Holly Bush" and "Come West
Along the Road." To this blend, Denman and Russ add depth and complexity
through the contrasting textures of pipe reeds and bowed strings. On the
solo tracks, the focus on individual expression sharpens the contrast.
Dale Russ' lone fiddle sparkles with crisp ornamentation on "The Stack
of Barley," "Bantry Bay," and "Rights of Man,"
and the lonely, untamed sound of solo pipes on "Eanach Duain"
sends a shiver down my spine."
- Crossroads Magazine
"These days... some of the most authentic Irish music you are likely
to hear is played by American born musicians living on the west coast of
the U.S. Two such musicians are Todd Denman and Dale Russ. Their playing
demonstrates an intimate knowledge of the music's subtle details and meaning...
The music of Dale and Todd is the real thing."
Martin Hayes (from the liner notes)
"Isn't that lovely music!"
- Ita Kelly, Radio Ireland
"This first collaboration by two old friends listens like an evening
in the kitchen: high-level playing on uilleann pipes and fiddle, yet relaxed
and unhurried; one might even say, playful. In the best spirit of Irish
music they coax and goad each other into gales of "wheeps" and
"nyaahhs," playing for the most part note for note throughout.
According to Todd, "I learned my first tunes from Dale, and he was
literally my first pipe teacher because he was playing the fiddle with
pipe-emulated ornamentation, and he was a big fan of Séamus Ennis,
which we shared in common."
"The unrushed quality is due in part to the lower pitched instruments
used on most tracks, the pipes in B-flat and fiddle tuned down (D string
to B-flat, etc.). The instruments respond slower, but the resulting sound
is rattling, rich and throaty. Todd plays moderately "tight"
on the chanter, giving up notes like cracking nuts, but he clearly enjoys
the bluesy slide from a lower note, too. Listen to Dale's deft bow overcome
the inertia of a softer string.
"Several tracks feature the fiddle, unaccompanied. Dale showcases
the reels "The Merry Sisters" and the "Boys of Ballysadare."
But his hornpipe set, "The Stack of Barley"/"Bantry Bay"/"The
Rights of Man," would make the older generation of players proud.
Energetic and bouncy tunes played in 2/4 (not 4/4!), and like the dance,
punctuated with rests and loaded with triplets and slides. ...There is
much to like here."
- Larry Hill, Fiddler
"This CD presents 54 minutes of masterfully-rendered dance tunes
(29) and airs (2)... Reeds and Rosin also features excellent accompaniment
by Paul Machlis, Theo Paige, Christy O'Connell, William Coulter and Séamus
Egan [from Offaly, Ireland, not Solas Egan]. The playing is swinging and solid throughout, and the recording quality
wonderfully clear and full. On at least half the tunes Denman uses a pipe
set in B-flat, so anyone wishing to play along will need to retune or have
a capo or B-flat whistle handy. Reeds and Rosin is the latest recorded
proof that some of the best traditional Irish music around is being made
and played in the U.S."
-L.E. McCullough, Iris na Píobairí