CD Review by David Royko
He's the hottest dulcimer handler around, attaining a level of expression on an instrument many felt was beyond its capabilities. If you like the autoharp/mandolin sound of the dulcimer, this CD will please. Solo, duo, trio and larger combinations all feature fine performances by, among others, The Cactus Brothers, Toni Price, Albert Lee, and Mark Knopfler. The material comes from all over the map, while the performances range from folk/old timey to jazz, Latin and pop.
The unaccompanied "If She's Gone,Let Her Go" opens this program. displaying Schnaufer's gossamer lines that sound almost silky, thanks to his vast technique. "Blackberry BIossom" introduces the eclectic Cactus Brothers band, featuring a fiddler known simply as "Tramp," who has ample creativity and a close, dry recorded sound similar to that of Vassar Clements. Schnaufer's duets with Knopfler and Lee are enjoyable, as is a simple but effective solo interpretation of the Jagger/Richards "Lady Jane."
Singer Toni price, sounding a bit like Rickie Lee Jones, provides the CD's high point with her moving performance of Schnaufer's "Colors," the lone dulcimer accompaniment perfectly cushioning her expressive delivery. For the finale, an exhilarating jaunt through "Fisher's Hornpipe" drives this enjoyable seventeen-track CD home In a blaze of glory.
David Royko (Chicago, IL)