“Masterful. Fresh, evocative material presented by talented musicians...this is deep musical history, understood and played at the gene level. What holds all this rich, international (“sqworld” music) and original material together is the intriguing voice of Caridwen and the players’ understanding of the role of each instrument – true ensemble playing at its best.
“Beatrice’s Waltz” by Spatz is a beautifully imagined tune; “Tango Tenebre” by Keenan adds a South American flavor; and Caridwen Irvine-Spatz contributes “Miles and Miles,” which could have been written 60 years ago and played by Bob Wills. Keenan’s “Big Timber” is a very funny take on a lumber song.
The album was beautifully recorded at Rosenberg’s The Schtood in Portland, Ore. Good, concise liner notes by Greg Spatz. I’ve had this playing in my house in heavy rotation, and I’m still hearing new things that surprise and delight.
“Four of the best roots musicians in the Pacific Northwest...this quartet manages to travel the world in 10 tracks, bringing in elements of traditional English and Irish, 13th century Ladino-Sephardic, Klezmer, and even western swing. With lots of twin fiddles, banjo, bouzouki, mandolin and resonator guitar, the Squirrel creates a mighty smorgasbord for the ears. Yes, it is heavy on traditions (and how does Irvine-Spatz manage to be fluent in so many languages?). But there are some off-the-wall elements here, especially in the two songs written by multi-instrumentalist Keenan...a collection of “old World-time” tunes that is more of an ethnomusicological main course rather than a side dish.”
“The album opens with a beautiful ballad about a fate told in the stars. The Ladino-Sephardic song carries old-country flavor with well-balanced, edgy stringed instrumentation. The first song portends the fantastic quality of the rest of this world-music album, on which tango and klezmer sit comfortably side by side. Reaching from Yiddish to Celtic to French-Canadian to Swiss roots, Spokane, Washington, based Mighty Squirrel unites folk traditions with flair.
Pick up this still-underground treasure as soon as you can. Connoisseurs of old-time music, world music, female vocals, and string instruments must get this album. But all of you non-connoisseur, everyday music people should get it too: it's an all around feel-good record.”
“Very proficient on their instruments and never repetitive in their song choices this album offers a wide ranging spectrum of songs. Mighty Squirrel is adept at all instruments and genres... This cd is well worth the listen!”
— Victory Review
“Diverse music held together by enjoyable, first class performances... Greg Spatz, who’s also the fiddler for the topnotch Bluegrass group John Reischman and the Jaybirds, takes a turn on octave mandolin and also contributes some fiddle on a few tunes. His playing is facile, sensitive, and spot on. David Keenan, formerly of Ranch Romance, is the Jack-of-all-trades here, playing a variety of instruments including resophonic guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, as well as contributing harmony and lead vocals. His lead vocal work on the mournful and regret-filled “We Will Have Our Day” is devastating in its simplicity and honesty. At the center of the group is Caridwen Irvine Spatz, doing the lion’s share of the lead vocals and fiddling. Her voice seems made for Celtic music, lyrical and ethereal, but she can also sing with an unexpected strength and a sly sense of humor. Her voice is expressive, flexible, and utterly charming.
An outstanding debut recording and a completely fun l”
“Mighty Squirrel is most recognizable for the absolutely alluring voice of female lead singer Caridwen Irvine-Spatz. She has a voice which is reminiscent of fine Celtic female singers such as Lorena McKennitt, and shows that Celtic and folk music are really two sides of a single coin, basically separated by an ocean but with similar roots.... As a band Mighty Squirrel does a nice job of offering up variety on the CD thanks to fine musicianship on cuts such as Gas Nigun, and the Squirrel Hunters. The group, which includes Irvine-Spatz on fiddle, Greg Spatz on mandolin, along with David Keenan and Ivan Rosenberg can PLAY.”
Yorktown This Week
“This is another rare treat: a debut CD of traditional music by a lineup of suberb musicians that offers something unique, not just warmed-over covers of tunes we've all heard before... The music is a mix of traditional Appalachian, Yiddish, Celtic, and French-Canadian songs and instrumentals... It all works wonderfully well together.
Caridewen is a phenomenal lead vocalist... As you'd expect from this group, the musicianship is outstanding. For those of you who enjoy traditional music as well as bluegrass, treat yourself to this great initial outing from Mighty Squirrel.”