In the summer 2012 Ashley completed a new collection of tunes with Barbara MacDonald Magone called Beautiful Lake Ainslie, a collection of traditional tracks performed with Piano and Fiddle, recorded in Windsor at Polaris Studios this past June.
Much has been said about the antics of the enfant terrible of the Fiddle, but only because he has had international success and notoriety from an early age and grew up under the spotlight as one of the most dynamic fiddlers from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. MacIsaac constantly pushed the traditional styles of Celtic music as he grew up and incorporated rock, pop, and everything imaginable in between.
A renowned fiddle player, piano player and step dancer, Ashley MacIsaac has performed in the opening ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics to a worldwide audience and with artists such as Phillip Glass and The Chieftains. Ashley also played with The White Stripes for their Under Great White Northern Lights Canadian tour which was turned in to a documentary. So impressed by Ashley’s electric performance and love of bending genres, Jack White has invited him to co-write and perform with him on a country blues song for Jack’s new label based in Nashville.
He has appeared on the Conan O’Brian show, the Today Show and has been a spotlight at international festivals, theatres and halls all over the world. He has also been featured on Bravo’s celebrity series Star Portraits and CBC’s acclaimed series Life & Times.
In 2005 MacIsaac released his first non-fiddle record Pride, a collection of pop songs which was an artistic success and allowed Ashley to experiment with new genres. Fall 2009 brought forth a joint record with his sister, Madison Violet’s Lisa MacIsaac, titled New Family Tradition made up of Celtic jigs and tunes. New Family Tradition was the first time the siblings had ever collaborated on a record together. The album was only available at shows and promptly sold out.
The CD titled Crossover is Ashley MacIsaac’s first full band recording since 2002. No frills, just great music by a proud Canadian who shreds on a fiddle like no one else can. With the exciting musical experiments and collaborations of recent years still in his mind, Ashley became energized again with the release of Crossover, the first album in this style in ten years. With Celtic crossovers such as the beautiful She’s A Rare One, sung by Mary Jane Lamond. “I begged Mary Jane to sing my favourite old Gaelic song,” MacIsaac recalls, “finally she did and it was worth all the begging! Mary Jane Lamond is indeed a rare one.”
There is also the bittersweet ballad White Velvet, the lyrics, which MacIsaac credits as the inspiration for the entire album, are coupled with music influenced by his Catholic upbringing. Of course we can also expect electrifying, fast paced Power Rock Fiddle songs like Poka Rokin. “This was my dad’s favourite Cape Breton step dance tune which I kicked up one powerful notch!”
Ashley describes this record as his proper answer to his 1995 multi-platinum record Hi How Are You Today? and while having made 7 more albums and ventured into many different genres since then; the album manages to echo his first big hit while also containing different styles which span the range of influences and musical textures that Ashley has discovered throughout his life.
One of the most celebrated Canadian roots musicians of all time, having sold in excess of 500,000 albums, Ashley has garnered international acclaim by playing the fiddle in that hard-nosed, traditional Cape-Breton style, while adding his own spin, mixing genres and updating Celtic music to appeal to a broader spectrum of fans. Considered something of a local legend and prodigy by the time of his impressive 1992 debut Close To The Floor, Ashley broke through to the mainstream with the double-platinum genre-bending Hi, How Are You Today? in 1995. International radio play for the single, Sleepy Maggie, and a regular slot on MuchMusic made Ashley an instant Canadian icon.