The photos on April Verch’s seventh album are a bit deceiving. The freshly scrubbed beauty could be mistaken for a young television star versus an accomplished player and composer, who started stepdancing at age three and playing the fiddle at age six. By the age of ten she was winning fiddle contests and touring Canada, releasing two solo albums before graduating from high school.
ARTIST WEBSITE: www.aprilverch.com
April, who leads her band with her own simultaneous fiddling and dancing (selling out prestigious venues and festivals for years), is giving notice that she is emerging to take the role of one of the top women in the roots genre with her recent release, Steal The Blue.
Verch had previously relied on her supple and inventive playing to build a catalogue of albums that were mostly instrumental takes on originals and treasures of the past. On Steal The Blue, she brings forth her confident and winsome voice to lead the April Verch Band through songs from familiar roots writers like Ron Block, Sarah Siskind and Larry Cordle – as well as finely detailed instrumentals infused with pure and joyous energy.
Born, raised and now living in Pembroke, Ontario, where her family has lived for generations, April grew up in an area with a rich, distinctive musical and stepdancing tradition. She began taking stepdancing lessons when she was three, but right from the start, she was drawn to the fiddle too, though her parents made her wait for three years before giving her a fiddle for her sixth birthday.
Her talents in both arenas quickly became evident, as she began winning fiddle and dance contests on her own. Offered a job with a leading fiddle ensemble after graduation, she opted instead to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she was exposed to, and quickly mastered, an array of musical styles. Indeed, her success and determination to pursue music for a living were such that April left Berklee after a year. “I only had enough money to get a two-year diploma,” she says with a laugh, “and I knew that if I did that, I’d be starting out with nothing but loans. So I decided to take that money and use it to start my career.”
By the time she reached her early 20s, she had matured into a self-assured, vibrant performer, and was picked up by Rounder Records, one of the most prestigious independent record labels in the US. She quickly released Verchuosity, followed by Where I Stand. Steal The Blue, her newest CD, offers compelling proof of her continuing development; with songs that range from bluegrass to newgrass, with flourishes of jazz and melodic old-timey music.